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A Portrait of Mendelssohn$
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Clive Brown

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300095395

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300095395.001.0001

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• Sight-Reading and Musical Memory

• Sight-Reading and Musical Memory

(p.230) 27 • Sight-Reading and Musical Memory
A Portrait of Mendelssohn

Clive Brown

Yale University Press

Numerous accounts suggest that Felix Mendelssohn possessed remarkable sight-reading and memory. In the mid-1830s, the author of a biographical account talked about Mendelssohn's security in sight-reading and the power of his memory. He could play publicly the most difficult pieces of such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven without music. In addition, he could accompany almost all larger-scale works, such as the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Carl Maria von Weber from memory on the piano with complete security. Mendelssohn had an extraordinary gift for evoking the sounds of various orchestral instruments. Ignaz Moscheles also noted Mendelssohn's sight-reading of demanding piano music, while Julius Benedict provides evidence of the early development of his musical memory.

Keywords:   sight-reading, memory, orchestral instruments, Ignaz Moscheles, piano music, Julius Benedict

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