Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jacob Ludwig Felix
b Hamburg, Germany 1809, d Leipzig 1847, Grandson of a philosopher (Moses M) and son of a banker who converted from Judaism to Lutheran Christianity (hence the compound surname), befriended by Goethe. His family moved to Berlin when he was 3; growing up in a wealthy and cultured environment, he nevertheless worked hard all his life. While still in his teens composed prolifically including several symphonies. He also showed an early talent for painting. A man of strong Christian faith and great personal charm, in his 20s he was widely welcomed in England and Scotland (which prompted the Hebrides overture) and made several other visits. France and Italy were among the scenes of his further musical triumphs. He became the Town Director of Music in Düsseldorf and head of the new Leipzig Conservatory; in 1841, Kapellmeister of the Prussian court. The oratorios St Paul (1836) and Elijah (produced in Birmingham, 1846) confirmed his popularity; today he is also noted for the traditional Wedding March which often concludes the Marriage Service. His friendship with Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria, led to both the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park’s Crystal Palace, and the S Kensington museum campus. Following a Swiss holiday in Vevey during which he became aware of rapidly failing health, and after a brief resumption of hard work at home, he died at the age of 38 at the height of his powers. Nos.15*=852*, 359.