Composers / Edvard Grieg / Places catalog
Today, the Mendelssohn House at 12 Goldschmidt-Strasse is home to a museum devoted to the composer. From 1835, Mendelssohn conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and in the years 1843–1844 he was director of the Conservatory. Grieg got to know Mendelssohn’s music at quite an early age, when learning piano with his mother. But it was not until his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory that he had the opportunity to become better acquainted with his oeuvre. In later years, he admitted that Mendelssohn was one of his favourite composers at that time. ‘I was full of Chopin, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Wagner. It was as if I needed to find a little space in which to breathe in a more personal and independent atmosphere’. The influence of Mendelssohn’s is discernible in Grieg’s first piano opuses, written during his studies in Leipzig: the Four Piano Pieces, Op. 1 (1863–1864) and the Poetic Tone Pictures, Op. 3 (1863). In a later period, however, Grieg came to see Mendelssohn as merely an elegant and technically proficient composer devoid of the inner longing that was so typical of the works of Schumann. Despite this, Mendelssohn’s works sometimes found their way onto the programmes of Grieg’s piano recitals. One work particularly admired by Grieg would appear to be the oratorio Elijah, which he chose for the programme of his last concert as a conductor with the Harmonien Orchestra he had founded in Bergen. His interpretation of Mendelssohn’s work was so enthusiastically received that the audience gave Grieg a standing ovation.
Edvard Grieg as student in Music Conservatory in Liepzig (c.1859), Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek.
Gewandhaus, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1836) (creative commons).
Mendelssohn-Haus in Goldschmidtstraße 12, Adolph Kohut, 1900, (creative commons).
Mendelssohn-Haus in Goldschmidtstraße 12, phot. Benjamin Ealovega (creative commons).