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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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• Aesthetics and Aspirations

• Aesthetics and Aspirations

(p.311) 35 • Aesthetics and Aspirations
A Portrait of Mendelssohn

Clive Brown

Yale University Press

In contrast to his younger contemporary Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn refused to speculate about the nature and purpose of music. He argued that musicians should concentrate on writing and playing music instead of talking about it. Yet there is a preponderance of evidence about his attitudes and convictions towards aesthetics. Mendelssohn was not in favor of releasing for wider circulation anything that failed to meet his own exacting standards and always strove for technical perfection. For Mendelssohn, every composer should have technical skill, which he believed could be acquired by individual effort. His attitude towards the emotional content of his music was founded on his conviction that art has a moral dimension.

Keywords:   music, aesthetics, technical skill, art

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