MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY, Felix (1809-1847). Autograph music manuscript signed (‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’), ‘Lied von Rückert für eine Alt-Stimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte’, Berlin, 27 April 1842, an unpublished song, ‘Des Menschen Herz ist ein Schacht’, 29 bars for voice and piano in 5 systems of three staves, in A flat major, a neat, typically elegant manuscript with only two minor textual corrections, inscribed to Privy Councillor [Johann Valentin] Teichmann, 'auf ausdrückliche Bestellung niedergeschrieben’ ('written at his express request'), superscribed in autograph with the invocation ‘H[ilf] d[u] m[ir]’, on one page, large 4to (302 x 228mm), on a bifolium, autograph title page (somewhat browned, splitting affecting a strip to upper margin of music page, the title page somewhat marked and soiled); with an autograph letter signed by Mendelssohn to Teichmann, Leipzig, 3 May 1842, asking him not to circulate the song, ‘weil ich es nur auf Ihren Wunsch und nur für Sie geschrieben habe’, although as Teichmann has already shown it to the bookseller [Wilhelm] Besser, he may give him a copy, one page, 8vo (231 x 142mm), laid onto verso of title (minor splitting and loss to lower corners). Provenance: T.O. Weigel, Catalogue d’une belle collection de lettres autographes dont la vente publique aura lieu à Leipzig, 12 Juin 1862, lot 490; catalogue of List & Franke, 23 January 1872, 139, no. 2569.
A LOST MENDELSSOHN SONG. Since its tantalising appearance in two Leipzig auction catalogues in 1862 and 1872, the song has become something of a classic case of a lost Mendelssohn work. The text is drawn from the second stanza of Rückert's poem 'Das Unveränderliche'. The recipient of the song, Johann Valentin Teichmann (1791-1860), was active for more than forty years as 'geheimer Secretär' in the office of the general management of the royal theatre in Berlin, for which his published Literarische Nachlass is an important source. He lived on an upper floor at the Mendelssohn Bartholdy house at Leipzigerstrasse in Berlin from 1828 to 1831. Literature: Leipziger Ausgabe der Werke Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdys (Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 2009), vol.13 (Mendelssohn Werkverzeichniss), K.111; Ralf Wehner. ‘“It seems to have been lost”: On Missing and Recovered Mendelssohn Sources’, The Mendelssohns. Their music in history. Oxford: OUP, 2002, pp.9 & 18.