George Walford: A Bit of Gossip

After the second performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin in 1829, there was a party for the performers. The wife of one of them, Therese Devrient, was sitting between Mendelssohn and a man who kept urging her to drink and showered her with inane and flirtatious compliments, until Therese, bored with his prattle, whispered to Mendelssohn: “Who is this idiot beside me?”

Mendelssohn whispered back: “That idiot is the famous philosopher Hegel.”

(From: Gentle Genius, the Story of Felix Mendelssohn by G. R. Marek, 1972, p. 144. Sent in by Beryl Benjamin).

from Ideological Commentary 4, January 1980.