Lewisham Links With Mendelssohn

The husband of Penny Champion, a long-standing member of LCS, has found an historical link between his mother’s family, the Holts of Liverpool, and composer Felix Mendelssohn, whose splendid oratorio Elijah is being performed by LCS on the 12th of March in Derbyshire and on the 19th of March in Croydon.

In May 1842 Anne and George Holt travelled to Berlin and Anne wrote to her father of their attendance at a musical soirée “given by Mrs Hensel, daughter of Mendelssohn the banker”. This was Fanny Hensel, née Mendelssohn, Felix’s sister. Anne recounts she was “a splendid performer” who played two little compositions of her own.

Ten days after this letter George Holt wrote to his mother describing a ride “on a wonderfully decrepit horse” with “young Mendelssohn”, “just by way of improving one another in the two languages”. This “young Mendelssohn” is almost certain to be Felix, who at the time was working at the Prussian king’s behest on reforming the organisation of musical life in Berlin.

The letter goes on to say that the two men rode on “as far as Charlottenburg“. So that completes the circle of links with Lewisham: the borough is now twinned with that very same Berlin suburb of Charlottenburg!

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LCS are also delighted to announce that Edmund Irving, a chorister in Dulwich College Chapel Choir, will be singing the part of The Youth as treble soloist in Croydon on the 19th of March.

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