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Rethinking Mendelssohn$
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Benedict Taylor

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190611781.001.0001

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The Philosophical Composer

The Philosophical Composer

The Influence of Moses Mendelssohn and Friedrich Schleiermacher on Felix Mendelssohn

(p.291) 12 The Philosophical Composer
Rethinking Mendelssohn

Leon Botstein

Oxford University Press

Felix Mendelssohn’s philosophical convictions regarding faith and human reason not only hold a clue to his intentions as a mature composer but also set him apart from many contemporaries. His philosophical inclinations influenced his ambitions as a composer and helped him formulate and justify his aesthetic, particularly during the last decade of his life. This chapter examines the influence of his grandfather Moses Mendelssohn and the Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, whom Mendelssohn knew from his youth in Berlin. Such philosophical affinities turn out to be illuminating and provocative, suggesting a way of recapturing a sense of the distinct character, beauty, and power of Mendelssohn’s music.

Keywords:   Felix Mendelssohn, Moses Mendelssohn, Friedrich Schleiermacher, philosophy, aesthetics, theology, faith, reason

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