Mendelssohn’s statue returns to Düsseldorf

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By Contributor profile

Neil McKim

Neil McKim

Neil McKim is production editor of BBC Music Magazine

Neil McKim
, Updated 1st October 2012

A reconstruction of a statue, that was removed in the Nazi era, is erected to celebrate Düsseldorf’s former great resident composer

A statue has been re-erected in Düsseldorf of Felix Mendelssohn, to celebrate his tenure as the city’s music director (1833-1835). This follows a local fundraising campaign to raise 150,000 euros (£120,000) to restore a monument to celebrate the city’s musical hero. This replaces the original statue that was taken down by the Nazis in 1936 – because of the composer’s Jewish background – and then melted down in 1940 for scrap metal during World War II.

The restoration of the memorial was triggered by an exhibition in 2009, which celebrated Mendelssohn’s 200th birthday. A plaster model of the original statue still existed, as did various sketches. And the following year, the city’s Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Dirk Elbers began a campaign to raise the money needed to reconstruct a statue and plinth.

The town unveiled the new memorial yesterday, in a location near the opera house, as close as possible to its original position – with musicians performing from the nearby Robert Schumann High School. And last night the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra performed a special Mendelssohn programme, including his Italian Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, and the Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 49.

‘The restoration of the memorial sees that Mendelssohn’s great musical achievement is again integrated into the image of the city,’ says Elbers.

Contributor profile

Neil McKim

Neil McKim

Neil McKim is production editor of BBC Music Magazine

Neil McKim