MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY, Felix (1809-1847). Autograph letter signed ('Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy') to the management of the subscription concerts at Leipzig, c/o the publisher Friedrich Kistner, Frankfurt, 17 June 1839, 3 pages, 4to, integral address panel (minor browning, seal cut, guards), tipped onto card. Provenance: collection of Dr Fritz and Dita Callomon, and thence by gift.
ENGAGING A NEW SINGER, AND THE PUBLICATION OF THE 114TH PSALM. In a long letter, which mingles Mendelssohn's characteristic charm with a close attention to publishing and business details, Mendelssohn begins with a discussion of the engagement of Miss Schloss as the second singer for the next Leipzig season, emphasising that, promising as she is, she qualifies as a second singer, not a first, in order that rumours should not spread of a new Clara Novello, in which case her appearance would prove as disappointing to the eyes as to the ears ('damit im Publicum sich nichts das Gerücht einer neuen Novello verbreite, was denn durch den Augenschein sowie durch den Ohrenschein unangenhem wiederlegt werden würde'). Mendelssohn has received the parts and score of his newly-published 114th Psalm that day, and reports his alarm at seeing that the parts are written in the soprano and tenor clefs ('in Clavier und Tenorschlüssel'), which few choirs can read; this aside, he is delighted with the edition: 'The design, the engraving, the clarity and the two little angels, in fact, everything is most elegant and wonderful'; he concludes with news of his work on a new violin sonata, and a trio, 'and a symphony, and some songs -- but the Walpurgisnacht -- and the opera -- oh God! -- and the new oratorio -- where are they? The Hanoverian question will be settled first' ('Ich schreib an einer neuen Violinsonate für F. Kistner, u. an einem Trio, u. an einer Symphonie, u. an Liedern -- aber die Walpurgisnacht -- aber die Oper -- o Gott -- aber das neue Oratorium -- wo liegt das noch? Die Hannöversche Frage wird eher erledigt').
Published in English translation, with a facsimile, in The Canadian Music Journal, vol.II, no.2, Winter 1958, pp.25-34, and subsequently in the Briefe an deutsche Verleger, ed. Elvers (1986), no.365. Poignantly, of the compositions Mendelssohn mentions working on, neither the violin sonata, nor the symphony, nor the opera have survived.