Notes and Editorial Reviews
MENDELSSOHN, THE NAZIS AND ME
A film by Sheila Hayman
The extraordinary story of what happened to Felix Mendelssohn's music and reputation under the Nazis, told by Sheila Hayman, award winning director and descendant of Mendelssohn's sister Fanny.
"Writer-director Sheila Hayman's articulate, radiantly intelligent film." -- Financial Times
"A tangled tale... presented absolutely compellingly by Sheila Hayman." -- Guardian
"A fascinating film that tells how, despite its best efforts, the Third Reich could not extinguish Germany's love of Mendelssohn's work." -- Observer
"One of most fascinating programmes I've seen in some time
... directed and presented by filmmaker Sheila Hayman, a direct descendant of Felix Mendelssohn. Celebrating the bicentenary of his birth, her film combined the story of her great, great, great, great uncle's life and work with the subsequent Nazi persecution endured by his descendents. Using interviews with her elderly Jewish father and aunts, as well as testimonies from contemporary classical musicians and scholars, she presented a vivid case for music's ability to endure against the odds and transcend religious and ideological divides.
"Although he was born a Jew, the German composer converted to Christianity at a young age. The influence of both faiths would find its way into his music, and bolster his desire to create great art with universal appeal. His grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, was a significant philosopher known as the German Socrates, who wrote revolutionary tracts on how Christians and Jews should -- and could –– live peacefully side by side. Tragically and unwittingly, the miscegenation he fostered would eventually incense the Nazis towards the final solution, thus directly affecting Mendelssohn's own descendants.
"Despite being hugely popular throughout Germany, Mendelssohn's music was eventually banned by the Nazis .... This backlash was instigated shortly after Mendelssohn's death by the notoriously antisemitic Richard Wagner, and not until after the war could Mendelssohn's music be performed in public again.... This entrancing film succeeded as a personal and justifiably proud celebration of not only the endurance of Hayman's forebears, but also that of Mendelssohn's unconquerable music and the human spirit generally."
-- The Scotsman
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: Digital Stereo
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 59 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
Works on This Recording
Work(s) by Felix Mendelssohn
Daniel Hope (Violin),
Steven Isserlis (Cello)
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