To speak of a Mendelssohn renaissance would be doubtless a crude exaggeration. But the coincidence that two recordings of the youthful String Symphonies have almost simultaneously appeared is more than chance. The habit of labelling Mendelssohn a 'classicist' or 'classical Romantic' relies upon the presumption that classicism is a style, whose formal canon originates from a 'classic' that is valid as a paradigm. Mendelssohn belonged to a post-classical age, whose representatives, as Immermann expressed it, perceived themselves as born belatedly, as epigones. The norms abstracted from a classic or 'point of perfection', which guarantee the inner cohesion and continuity of a genre's history, are more clearly marked in Mendelssohn's vocal than in his instrumental music. The fact that Mendelssohn's St Paul, without being a stylistic copy, is reminiscent of the tone of Handel has never been misunderstood and provoked the disapproval of rival oratorio composers such as Louis Spohr and Carl Loewe.