The Mendelssohn Monument

Mendelssohn Monument in Leipzig

On 26 May 1892, 24 years after the committee in charge of the monument in honour of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy had been founded and 45 years after his early death, the monument could be inaugurated. The bronze monument was situated on the east side of the old Gewandhaus music hall in Leipzig and had been created after drafts by Werner Stein.

At the end of the 19th century the skillful monument was living proof of a high historico-cultural value and an appreciation of the musical genius of Mendelssohn Bartholdy and of his merits to the world of music.

During the Nazi period the Mendelssohn monument was torn down on 9 November 1936, as Mendelssohn was considered a Jew and therefore – according to Mayor Haake, a national socialist, could “not be displayed as an exponent for a German city of music”. It is not known what happened to the monument.

In 2003 the then mayor of Leipzig, Wolfgang Tiefensee, and the honorary conductor of the Gewandhaus orchestra, Prof Kurt Masur, agreed to rebuild the Mendelssohn monument. With the help of a generous donation by Dr Wolfgang Jentzsch, the reconstruction of the monument started.

The reconstructed Mendelssohn monument is located in the heart of the city, on Dittrichring, just across from St Thomas Church. The Monument was inaugurated on 18 October 2008.

Dedication of the Mendelssohn Monument on 18 October 2008

On a plinth which is 4 m high and made of granite there is a bronze statue of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, about 3 m of height. On the steps of the monument sits the muse of music, with two cherubs making music and singing on each side. On the plinth you can read the inscription “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” on the front and “Edles nur künde die Sprache der Töne” (May the language of music only tell of noble things) on the back. On the sides two medallions symbolise church music and secular music.

Mendelssohn Monument next to St Thomas Church at night