Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Switzerland
The series about historical places of opera art & culture. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Switzerland.
All Destinations on google maps with links to detailed Blogposts:
Mendelssohn in Switzerland
On four occasions, Mendelssohn traveled through Switzerland for a longer period of time, probably covering approximately one thousand kilometers on foot. The first time as a 14-year-old with his family and several servants coming from Berlin, another time during the summer of the century with great floods and the last time deeply saddened after he had learned of the death of his beloved sister Fanny. Mendelssohn wandered all over Switzerland, some places were dear to his heart and he visited them several times.
From his correspondence we learn that he learned some yodeling in Switzerland, which “sounds rough in the room, but outside, in the early morning and bright weather, to the ringing of the cows in the valley, beautiful and enthusiastic”.
Mendelssohn was also a talented draftsman; a total of more than 300 works of art by him have survived, several dozen of them with motifs from Switzerland.
For the first time Felix visited the panorama mountain Rigi as a 15-year-old, where the family wanted to experience the famous sunrise. With donkeys they went up to the inn on the Kulm. On the first morning, the sky was still covered in rain clouds, but on the second morning it worked out. “One would have fallen down and worshipped” wrote his 4-year older sister Fanny.
Sunrise on the Rigi:
Destination Interlaken, Hotel Interlaken
Mendelssohn stayed at this historic hotel five times during his life. The house dates back to the 14th century and was already a monastery inn at that time. Since 1491, the house bore the proud coat of arms on its facade. Today, one room is named after Mendelssohn, a second after another illustrious guest, Lord Byron. From here, Mendelssohn moved to the famous mountains of the Bernese Oberland.
Destination Wengen Mendelssohn memorial place
Fascinated by the panorama of the three famous glacier giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Mendelssohn pulled out his painting tools.
Panorama Eiger, Mönch und Jungfrau:
The village of Wengen is now a renowned tourist village. When Mendelssohn passed through the village in 1842, there were only a few barns there.
Above the village, in the so-called Mesti, he made a sketch of Wengen and the Jungfrau at that time. It is considered to be the historically oldest representation of the village of Wengen. Exactly at the place where Felix Mendelssohn made his sketch stands the memorial today. The memorial is located 5-10 min. above the Beausite Park Hotel. Please follow the signposts. The path to the memorial is closed in winter due to avalanche danger. (Source website https://mendelssohn-wengen.ch/de/).
Mendelssohns sketch of the Jungfrau Massif:
Photo from the place where Mendelssohn drew:
The memorial place:
Destination Hof Church Lucerne
On July 2, 1847, Mendelssohn painted this watercolor of the city of Lucerne (the wooden bridge has since been demolished). In the center of the picture you can see the striking Hof Church (St. Leodegar), whose “monumental organ” Mendelssohn had played. The large organ is still preserved and sounds authentic as in Mendelssohn’s time.
Watercolor of Mendelssohn:
Organ of the Hof Church:
The concert calendar of the Hofkirche can be found on the website:
Destination Rhinefall Schaffhausen
Mendelssohn also visited the famous Rhine Falls and painted in watercolors.
Watercolor of Mendelssohn:
He also visited Rheinau Monastery, a few kilometers downstream, and played the Great Organ of the monastery church there.