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Fanny Mendelssohn Hansel Essay

961 words - 4 pages

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was born On May 14, 1847 in Berlin, Germany. She was the eldest of four children. She descended from an extremely talented and successful Jewish families on both sides. Her mother, Lea Mendelssohn began training her on piano when she was just a child. To her benefit, Abraham Mendelssohn, tolerated Fanny's interest in the composition of music. Which was very uncharacteristic of a young female in this period. All four children were extremely fortunate to have the luxury of a top notch education in general studies and music. Of her siblings, Fanny was the closest to Felix Mendelssohn, whom she shared her deep love of music with. Even though they trained side by side, ...view middle of the document...

Although beautiful, I believe this was Fanny ‘playing it safe’ as far as the composition. She was bound by society’s standards and this song depicts her not travelling too far off of the beaten path. A good example of the social standard set for her is a letter written to Fanny from her father, Abraham, in which he says:

"Music will perhaps become (Felix's) profession, whilst for you it can and must only be an ornament,"

It saddens me to think a woman with such talent was not celebrated, but instead shunned for aspiring to be more than the average female. Another good example of the mindset of the time period is to take a look at her brother. While he greatly values her input on his own works and encourages her artistic talent in private, publicly he does not acknowledge her as his artistic equal and discouraged her publishing her works under her own name.

Das Jahr, in my opinion is a much more moving piece of work, cataloging her and her family’s travels to Rome. A twelve-part piano suite based on the twelve months of the year, it is extremely descriptive in each melodies mood swings. This collaboration of feelings, memories, and experiences is much more personal once the back story is known. The work takes you on many highs and lows and you can almost feel her mood in each overture.
Fanny was a loyal to her family and volunteered to help care for her sister, Rebecka, after the death of her thirteen month old son. Rebecka’s loss catapulted her into depression and illness. Fanny devoted half a year caring for her sister. During this emotional time, my personal favorite was written, Du bist die Ruh. You can almost feel the crying hearts in the first two bars. I think this work...

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