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    Felix Mendelssohn

    Jew Score:



    February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847

    In the Gustav Mahler profile, we wrote that there were very few Jewish pre-20th century, classical composers. Our readers complained.

    So we profiled Charles-Valentin Alkan, the exception to the rule. Our readers continue complaining. Sure, Alkan is fine and everything, but what about Felix Mendelssohn?

    Well, here's the thing, concerned readers. Felix was born Jewish, but that did not last. When he was seven, his father renounced Judaism, and got the whole family baptized, changing the last name to Bartholdy. Young Felix became a Christian.

    But unlike his treacherous father, Felix did not completely renounce his Jewish roots. He was now a Bartholdy, sure, but he did not ditch his original name, his full goy moniker becoming Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. And some scholars see his score for "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" as a "Jewish protest against the domination of Christianity". So that's nice.

    Nice, but not enough. Sorry, dear readers. Felix was born a Jew, but did not live as a Jew. "Borderline" is as high as we'll go, and even that's a stretch.

    Verdict: Borderline Jew.

    February 4, 2010

    See Also

    Charles-Valentin Alkan

    Fromental Halevy

    Heinrich Heine

    Gustav Mahler

    Johann Strauss
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