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Mendelssohn, The Nazis And Me

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Felix Mendelssohn was a passionate Christian. He was also born a Jew. This film, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth, tells the extraordinary story of what happened, generations later, both to Mendelssohn's family and to his music, when the Nazis remembered the Jewish roots of Germany's most celebrated composer.

This program also examines how the influences of both Judaism and Christianity affected Mendelssohn's music, and was made by documentary-maker Sheila Hayman, Mendelssohn's great-great-great-great niece.

'Writer-director Sheila Hayman's articulate, radiantly intelligent film' - FINANCIAL TIMES

'This entrancing film succeeded as a personal and justifiably proud celebration' - SCOTSMAN

'A tangled tale... presented absolutely compellingly by Sheila Hayman' - GUARDIAN

'A fascinating film that tells how, despite its best efforts, the Third Reich could not extinguish Germany's love of Mendelssohn's work' - OBSERVER

with performances from Daniel Hope, Steven Isserlis, Asaf Levy and Larry Todd


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Felix Mendelssohn
  • Directors: Sheila Hayman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KULTUR VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VR9QZU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,428 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Persson on September 10, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in Mendelssohn and the fate that his legacy and family suffered in Nazi Germany this is highly recommended. Hayman deftly interweaves the issues of composer's dual identity as a Jew and Christian as reflected in his music with her own family's struggle with identity and the diabolical methods that the Nazis employed to weed out non-Aryans and to erase Mendelssohn's music from Germany's cultural heritage. The film isn't always easy to watch and I found myself tearing up a couple of times, but, in the end, it is also a tale of good triumphing over evil. After all, Mendelssohn's music survives and so does his family.

By the way, I believe that Hayman herself descended from Felix's sister Fanny who we now know was a gifted musician and composer, although, surprisingly, this is never mentioned in the film. I have read a lot about the Mendelssohn family in the past year and think this remarkable family deserves its own movie!
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This is much more than your normal documentary. It is about the composer, his descendants, music, and religion. The nazi period documented is the culmination of bigotry, and its musical defeat. The no so extraordinary history of an extraordinary composer, his family background and the many human questions raised in the story are, to me, the center part of this documentary, more than the actual awful and stupid ideas of the nazi period. It is very poignant how Sheila Hayman poses the question of Jewishness in her family's blood. Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of the composer, started to address the question of Jews separated from Christians, and Felix Mendelssohn answered it with his music. I leave it to each one who watches this DVD to question and answer it for himself. Highly recommended.
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I was very excited about receiving this DVD on Felix Mendelssohn and the Nazis. I viewed two other DVD's that I ordered from Amazon on Beethoven and Mozart from the same publishers. Both had written subtitle options. I was so incredibly disappointed to discover accessible options were not available on the Mendelssohn DVD. I will try to find out how I can acquire a transcript. Why this is not available in caption for the hearing impaired and subtitles for other at least a couple of other common languages is a mystery. I can hear the music and hear some of the verbal when the voice and face is visible. Otherwise, a narrator voice in the background makes it impossible to decipher the words. I gave the DVD 3 stars for this reason.
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