Mendelssohn’s trumpet involuntary

Mendelssohn’s trumpet involuntary


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2020

You are in for a phenomenal surprise.


  • mary says:

    The Four Seasons.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Gosh how clever. Isn’t modern technology wonderful and Peter Lawrence of course? Bravo.

  • RW2013 says:

    And they say nothing ever happens in Hof…

  • Alan Burstin says:

    Who can still consider Mendelssohn as having been Jewish after seeing this photo of his gravestone ?

    • Novagerio says:

      Alan: He was baptised Lutheran. Hitler missed that part…

    • John Borstlap says:

      Mendelssohn was not Jewish, he descended from Jewish people, that is all. In the 19th century, Jewishness was seen as a Weltanschauung, and Mendelssohn did not share that idea. He was a VERY European composer, and he would also have been one if his parents had been black immigrants from Botswana.

      In times when we have German writers like Senthuran Varatharajah, more German than German, drenched in Adornian Verfremdung and philosophical melancholy, then the idea that some Europeans are or were ‘Jewish’ doesn’t have any meaning – except for the oldfashioned psychopaths of course. (SV’s parents were fugitives from Shri Lanka.)

      • fflambeau says:

        Unfortunately, under Nazi racial law, he was considered Jewish. He was seen as a kind of “converso” or convert.

        Antisemitism was very commonplace worldwide at the time but especially strong in Austria and Germany.

    • Nathaniel Rosen says:

      If you are born a Jew, you will die a Jew, and conversion will not change that.

    • fflambeau says:

      To Alan Burstin,

      Under the crazed Nazi law, Mendelssohn was indeed Jewish.

      Note that many Jewish families attempted to escape a harsher fate by becoming “conversos” (converts to Christianity). It had been common since the age of the Inquisition. See the wonderful history by Henry Kamen, “The Spanish Inquisition” Indeed, the “yellow star” sewn in on the clothing of Jewish people, originated, as Kamen notes, with the Inquisition.

    • Baruch Russo says:

      Easy. He was a disciple of Sabbatai Zevi.

  • will says:


  • Nick says:

    Great performance of eternal Music!!

  • Esther Cavett says:

    What a charming man and such a clever arrangement.
    Many thanks for sharing !

  • John Borstlap says:

    Great fun… they are ALL virtuosi, especially nr 3 on the first row.

  • Rustier spoon says:

    Amazing. Brilliant work…I bet he’s a really nice bloke too! Looking forward to the other movements as promised…


    Simply- wow!

  • Music lover says:

    Bravo! Loved it!

  • Hof has 47,296 inhabitants, the surrounding district an additional 95,000. It has the full time Hofer Symphoniker which also serves the town’s opera house and ballet company. As you can hear, the quality of the musicians is very good. Imagine these cultural standards for towns this size in the English-speaking world.

  • Dave Payn says:

    He’s apparently got the other movements coming soon. (He has already recorded the whole octet without the visuals on his YouTube page)

  • Dave Payn says:

    Trumpets are just doing it for themselves….. Haydn’s Concerto, 1st movement, on eight keyed trumpets and five natural trumpets.

  • Jasper says:


  • Peter San Diego says:

    Stunning! Just how much arrangement was involved; do the strings truly never play any double stops in the original? I ask because I’m astonished that nothing sounds missing.

  • Chilynne says:

    How delightful! Thank you for posting this.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    Absolutely brilliant

  • Suma says:

    That’s impressive, but am I the only one to think that some of it sounds like a sampler? If it is not heavily retouched, then his skill is indeed fantastic

  • Alexander Hall says:

    This is exactly what we need in these and dark troubled times.

  • Edgar Self says:

    A rabbi told this story. A Jewish patriarch was dying at a great age. On his deathbed he insisted on converting to Catholicism. His family were appalled. “I know what I’m doing,” he shrewdly explained, “Better one of them should die than one of us.”

  • Dave Payn says:

    Movement two here

    Movement three here

  • Grigoriy. Mendelson says:

    Great music.!Forever classic. Great composition!Genius person! Proud of Jew !

    • John Borstlap says:

      I’m sorry to have to inform you that the quality of the music has nothing, really and truly nothing, to do with the composer descending from Jewish people. Nothing, really. A culture can be absorbed and embraced by anyone with enough talents and perceptive sensitivity. In the 19th century, there were millions of non-Jewish people, even in Germany, who had not a splinter of Mendelssohn’s talent.

  • Edgar Self says:

    His ancestor Moses Mendel translated the Bible. Anotheer added”-sohn to honor his father, and Felix added -Bartholdy. There was a Mendelssohn (and a Brentano) in post-war German politics

    Not to forget his sister Fannie, who died of a stroke months before him. He was a friend of old Goethe, Ferdinand David, Hiller, Moscheles, Schumann, Chopin (although one-sided), even Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with whom he played piano duets on many visits.

    An European composer for sure. He famously revived Bach’s Matthew Passion, wrote Elijah and St. Paul, Reformation, Italian, and Lobgesang symphonies, Walpurgisnacht, the best sea-picture in Fingal’s Cave — Hebrides overture, this phenomenal octet and Midsummer Night’s Dream, exquisite Lieder and duets with and without words, organ music, fugues, elfin scherzi, three piano concertos counting a double, two violin concertos including one of the most popular, another double for both, and six remarkable string quartets continuing Beethoven’s late style and adopted by Smetana. Several countries should vie for the honor of claiming him.

    An under-rated composer ffallen from favor in the Victorian decline and an evidently lovable man. “Auch die Schoenheit muss sterben” Schiller wrote and Brahms set in “Naenie” … Even Beauty must die.
    the Gewandhaus in
    The return and reinstallationof his statue to Leipzig where he had once conducted was cause for Continental recognition and world-wide celebration.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Edgar, are you sure Felix added the Bartholdy? I recall reading somewhere that to the contrary, he disliked it.

      • Edgar Self says:

        I’m not sure of anything any more, Peter, but it’s the way I remmber it. Bartholdy is seldom used but was on the tombstone.

    • John Borstlap says:

      There is the story of Klemperer who in a Munich record shop, together with his assistant who was called Mendelssohn, wanted to see whether his recent Beethoven V was already in the racks. It was not – the staff member tried to get him buy the recordings of his rivals, which K refused. ‘Why’? he was asked. ‘Because, you see, I am Klemperer!’ K answered. Upon which the staff member reacted, pointing to the assistant: ‘O yes, and that man must surely be Beethoven?’ upon which K said: ‘No, that’s Mendelssohn!’ and it was all true.

  • Stephen says:

    There’s an obvious debt in the arrangement to the brass band world, even if that would have used a chorus of tubas, horns and cornets rather than trumpets.

  • Bruce says:

    Great playing on all the instruments!

  • Jo Hammond says:

    Fabulous! The first few seconds dispelled all my depression.
    (I used to play trumpet before I turned into a soprano.)

  • David Langlois says:

    That is WONDERFUL!! I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. So, so, so many thanks for taking the time and effort to make this video, and then share it with us.

  • David Langlois says:

    I could not see all the previous comments before I made mine, and my reaction to them is: what is all the fuss about Mendelssohn’s “jewishness”? It’s irrelevant. And whether this was a “true” transcription of music for the violin? Also, irrelevant. Give the man some kudos for doing what he did. Could any of you duplicate his skill?

    [Pause, for thought]

    I thought not.

  • Richard Thompson says:

    Great fun