#composer – Wer war Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn?

#composer – Who was Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn?

Fanny Hensel, née Mendelssohn, was a German composer and pianist who lived from 1805 to 1847. She was the older but far less well-known sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn and received the same musical education as her brother.

Despite her talent and passion for music, Fanny was discouraged from pursuing a career as a composer due to societal expectations of women at the time. Instead, she focused on supporting her brother's career and hosting salons for musicians and artists in her home.

How many works did you compose?

Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music, mainly chamber music, songs and piano pieces intended for home music. It was not until the 20th century that her work received the recognition it deserved. Today, Fanny Hensel is considered an important and influential composer, and her music is increasingly performed and recorded.

Connection to her brother Felix Mendelssohn

Fanny Hensel had a very close relationship with her younger brother Felix Mendelssohn throughout her life; the two shared a deep love and appreciation for music.

Felix supported his sister's musical talents and often played her compositions at the family's musical gatherings. In fact, it was Felix who encouraged Fanny to publish some of her works. However, he had her works published under his name, bowing to the social expectation of his time that women could not pursue careers as professional composers.

Despite their close relationship, there were some tensions between Fanny and Felix over their respective musical careers. For example, when Fanny expressed a desire to perform her works in public, Felix discouraged her, as he felt it was inappropriate for a woman to do so. Despite these challenges, the siblings remained close throughout their lives, and Felix continued to champion his sister's musical legacy even after her death.

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