Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Piano Trio by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

This week we are looking at Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, the lesser-known but equally talented sister to Felix Mendelssohn. Fanny has over 400 compositions to her credit, many of them written for small-group settings and ideal for the salon performances in her home. Because she never really received the opportunity to perform publicly or publish during her lifetime, Fanny’s work did not gain a full appreciation until the late twentieth century when she was re-discovered.

Her Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 11 is a beautiful work composed in 1846 for her sister Rebecka’s birthday. It was not published until 1850. This piece shows Fanny’s skill and understanding of the piano, violin, and cello. She writes in an expressive manner, developing ideas and creating a conversation between the three instruments as they alternate taking the lead. You can listen to Fanny’s lovely piece below:

Join me next time as we look at another musically-gifted woman of the nineteenth century, Clara Wieck Schumann.

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