Chapter

Introduction

Jeffrey S. Sposato

in The Price of Assimilation

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195149746
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870783 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149746.003.0001
Introduction

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This introductory chapter provides an overview of the so-called “Mendelssohn Jewish Question”. Many commentators have assumed that since Felix Mendelssohn was born Jewish and set many Old Testament subjects to music, he retained a strong attachment to Judaism throughout his lifetime. Some of the anti-Semitic criticism Mendelssohn experienced is explored. Mendelssohn's numerous Psalm settings are discussed, showing that the composer's setting of these Biblical passages does not prove that he retained an affinity for Judaism. The chapter concludes by distinguishing between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.

Keywords: Old Testament; Psalms; anti-Semitism; anti-Judaism

Chapter.  5289 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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