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He was the son of a banker, Abraham Mendelssohn. Felix and his sister, Fanny, took their first piano lessons with their mother, Lea Salomon-Bartholdy. He gave his first public performance at the age of eight. Two years later he entered the Singakademie, first as an alto and later as a tenor. In his first year the choir performed a setting of Psalm 19 he had written.
He was fortunate to have a father who took interest in his musical development and who had the financial resources to carry it out.
His career as a pianist, conductor and composer was soon well under way. Matthew Passion. By early his health, always fragile, had begun to fail. The emotional trauma caused by the death of his beloved sister, Fanny, that year hastened his own death two months later at the age of He was the son of a Jewish merchant and a well-educated mother who held high ambitions for him.
With the financial power of his uncle he received a law degree, with only minimal achievement, in That same year he changed his name from Harry to Heinrich and converted to Protestantism in order to open up the possibility of a civil service career, closed to Jews at that time.
However, he neither practiced law nor worked in government service. Instead, he became a poet whose international literary reputation and influence were established by the Buch der Lieder The Book of Songs, , poems from which were frequently set to music by composers including Brahms, Schumann, and Mendelssohn.
In he moved permanently to Paris where he became an advocate for political and social concerns. His critical and satirical writings led to an attempted ban on his work in Germany and surveillance by German police.
The last eight years of his life were spent in depression and extreme pain caused by a series of illnesses of the nervous system which led to paralysis and partial blindness. He was buried in Montmarte Cemetery.
He completed his education in Chicago before moving to New York City to perform. By the mids he began singing throughout Europe. His performances in Vienna, Berlin, London, and Paris received very favorable reviews. Following the war, he traveled extensively and made Paris his second home. He never married and was very close to his sister Marie Lillian Prahl She lived with him during an extended illness for the two years prior to his death. Ross determined the position of magnetic North Pole and returned from his second Arctic expedition; London Bridge opened; P.
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Abendlied (Felix Mendelssohn)