“Mendelssohn, the Nazis and Me,” a recent DVD release from Kultur International Films, reproduces a 2009 BBC TV film by UK-born writer Sheila Hayman about her eminent ancestor, the composer Felix Mendelssohn.
The multi-talented Hayman is author of previous light-hearted novels and documentary scripts about robots, abortions in China, car design and other eclectic subjects. Among the interviewees in “Mendelssohn, the Nazis and Me” is musicologist Jeffrey Sposato, author of the astute “The Price of Assimilation: Felix Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition,” (Oxford University Press) which explores the extent to which Mendelssohn adopted an antisemitic viewpoint in works like the oratorio “St. Paul,” in which a villainous chorus of Jews avidly shouts: “Stone him to death!”
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