Early life and education[ edit ] Fanny Mendelssohn, sketched in by her future husband Wilhelm Hensel Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg , the oldest of four children , including her brother Felix Mendelssohn born four years after her. She received her first piano instruction from her mother, who had learned the Berlin Bach tradition through the writings of Johann Kirnberger , a student of Johann Sebastian Bach. This child is really something special. In , they joined the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin , which was then being led by Zelter. In , he wrote to her, "Music will perhaps become his [i.
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Early life and education[ edit ] Fanny Mendelssohn, sketched in by her future husband Wilhelm Hensel Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg , the oldest of four children , including her brother Felix Mendelssohn born four years after her.
She received her first piano instruction from her mother, who had learned the Berlin Bach tradition through the writings of Johann Kirnberger , a student of Johann Sebastian Bach.
This child is really something special. In , they joined the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin , which was then being led by Zelter. In , he wrote to her, "Music will perhaps become his [i. Felix's] profession, while for you it can and must be only an ornament".
He wrote: From my knowledge of Fanny I should say that she has neither inclination nor vocation for authorship. She is too much all that a woman ought to be for this. She regulates her house, and neither thinks of the public nor of the musical world, nor even of music at all, until her first duties are fulfilled.
Publishing would only disturb her in these, and I cannot say that I approve of it. Fanny's works were often played alongside her brother's at the family home in Berlin in a Sunday concert series Sonntagskonzerte , which was originally organised by her father and after carried on by Fanny herself. I have watched the progress of his talent step by step, and may say I have contributed to his development.
I have always been his only musical adviser, and he never writes down a thought before submitting it to my judgment.
Fanny helped Felix by providing constructive criticism of pieces and projects, which he always considered very carefully. Larry Todd  came in , when she played her brother's Piano Concerto No. Paul at the Singverein, which she attended at the invitation of its conductor, Carl Friedrich Rungenhagen. In a letter to her brother she described attending the rehearsals and "suffering and champing at the bit [ Reich has suggested two events which may have increased her confidence.
One was her visit to Italy with her husband and Sebastian in — This was her first visit to the South and she felt invigorated and inspired; they also spent time with young French musicians who had won the Prix de Rome one was the young Charles Gounod and whose respect for Fanny powered her self-esteem as a musician.
The other event was her acquaintance shortly afterwards with the Berlin critic Robert von Keudell; in her diary she wrote: "Keudell looks at everything new that I write with the greatest interest, and points out to me if there is something to be corrected [ On 14 August Fanny wrote in her journal "Felix has written, and given me his professional blessing in the kindest manner.
I know that he is not quite satisfied in his heart of hearts, but I am glad he has said a kind word to me about it. If the matter comes to an end then, I also won't grieve, for I'm not ambitious.
At this time Fanny was working on her Piano Trio Op. This style of piano music was most successfully developed by Felix, whose first set Op. She was also undoubtedly hampered by the fact that, unlike her brother, she had never studied or played any string instruments, experience which would have assisted her in writing chamber or orchestral works. Therefore lieder suit me best, in which, if need be, merely a pretty idea without much potential for development can suffice. They will form a delightful souvenir, a kind of second diary.
But do not imagine that I give these names when playing them in society, they are for home use entirely. Larry Todd has pointed out that, although there has been much comment about the influence of Felix's music on Fanny and some comment on that of Fanny on Felix , both were strongly influenced by the later music of Ludwig van Beethoven in terms of form , tonality and fugal counterpoint.
This is reflected for example in Fanny's string quartet. He points to this type of meter being used by Mendelssohn to alter the speed of vocals in the song and to reflect emotions through distortion of duple norms. Mendelssohn's use of word painting is also acknowledged as a common element of her style, a method of stressing emotion in the song text.
In , the publisher began to distribute Fanny Mendelssohn's unreleased works, starting with Vier Lieder Op. Selected letters and journal entries were published during the 19th century, notably by Sebastian Hensel in his book on the Mendelssohn family. Her collected letters to Felix, edited by Marcia Citron, were published in Thus two characters [Felix and Fanny] are forced to bear the weight of two centuries of gender ideology.
Das Jahr, H.385 (Hensel, Fanny)
In she wrote to her brother Felix Mendelssohn to inform him that -- against the strict wishes of the Mendelssohn family -- she was beginning to publish her own music. In her first favorable musical reviews were eclipsed by her untimely death on May Grief-stricken, her brother died just six months later, but before his own passing he carried out her wishes by arranging for the publication of several of her songs and piano pieces. Jahr constitutes in effect a musical diary of the year she and her family Hensil spent in Rome. In many ways it is more forward-looking and original than her brother's work, closer to that of Liszt or Robert Schumann. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest of the unheralded piano suites of the nineteenth century.
Das Jahr (The Year), cycle for piano (H. 385)
Mendelssohn, Fanny: Das Jahr (The Year)