Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn

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Granddaughter of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn and sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) was an extraordinary musician who left well over four hundred compositions, most of which fell into oblivion until their rediscovery late in the twentieth century. In Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, R. Larry Todd offers a compelling, authoritative account of Hensel's life and music, and her struggle to emerge as a publicly recognized composer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An authoritative new biography." —

"Todd's exhaustively researched and engaging biography will probably remain the authoritative source into the foreseeable future. It has helped to life the "curtain of silence" that kept Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel's works in the dark for well over a century." —Chamber Music

"At last—an authoritative account of Hensel's life and music. Todd accords Hensel the creative recognition that is long overdue, and builds on his Mendelssohnian expertise to trace the mutually influential relationship between Fanny and Felix. A scholarly tour de force!"-Marcia J. Citron, Author of Gender and the Musical Canon (1993) and Editor of Letters of Fanny Hensel to Felix Mendelssohn (1987)

"The author of an acclaimed biography of Felix Mendelssohn, R. Larry Todd has now written what will surely be the authoritative life-and-works study of Fanny Hensel for a long time to come. With his superb insights into the workings of her music, he brings her out of her brother's shadow and enables her to take her rightful place in the sun. This book is an event, one that enlarges our picture of a woman, a family, a place, an era, and an important body of music."-Susan Youens, author of Heinrich Heine and the Lied (2008) and Hugo Wolf and his Mörike Songs (2006)

"It is hard to believe that once again Larry Todd has made history with scholarship. Close on the heels of his authoritative biography of Felix Mendelssohn, for the first time we have a comprehensive biography of Fanny Mendelssohn. The biography is magisterial and pathbreaking, replete with a useful thematic catalog of Fanny's compositions. This book represents an indispensable piece of social and cultural history concerning German-speaking Europe before 1848."-Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

"This book of many threads is a long awaited, pivotal source for the study of Fanny Hensel and her music...Todd has opened the field wide for advanced study of the musical relationships between the siblings as well as between Fanny and the Schumanns, of the same texts used by Fanny and Franz Schubert or Robert Schumann, and reflections of Fanny's style in Brahms's works (an idea Todd suggests on several occasions). Most important is the opportunity for new studies of Fanny Hensel's genres and stylistic periods. Todd's descriptions and analyses of the music will serve to widen access to this pivotal nineteenth-century composer. What fine and thorough groundwork!" —Notes

"[Todd's] contribution to scholarship on Hensel is immeasurable. Todd combines an in-depth discussion of the music with rich biographical information, and through his book we gain a firmer understanding of Hensel as an independent and creative artist." —Journal of the International Alliance of Women in Music

"A work of such erudition and fascinating detail, which vividly evokes the Mendelssohns' interactions with one another and with most of the artistic figures of their milieu. Most valuable are the provocative and accessible analyses Todd provides of Fanny's music." —Opera News

"Todd shares his view of his biography as a starting point that he hopes will stimulate more performances of and the publication of a complete edition of Hensel's music. Todd's excellent scholarship, engaging writing style, and enthusiasm for his subject should ensure the fulfillment of his hopes." —Fontes Artis Musicae

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195180800
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/25/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Recognized in the New Yorker as "Mendelssohn's most authoritative biographer," R. Larry Todd is Arts and Sciences Professor at Duke University. A Guggenheim Fellow and Fellow of the National Humanities Center, he is the author of Mendelssohn: A Life in Music, named Best Biography in 2003 by the Association of American Publishers. He has recently returned to his pianist roots and released his first CD, of Mendelssohn's complete cello works, with internationally acclaimed cellist Nancy Green for JRI Recordings.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note On the Website
Genealogical Tree of the Itzig and Mendelssohn Families
I. Fugal Fingers (1805-1818)
II. Musical Ornaments (1819-1821)
III. Sibling Rivalry and Separation (1822-1824)
IV. Leipzigerstrasse No. 3 (1825-1828)
V. Becoming Frau Hensel (1828-1830)
VI. Secret Aspirations (1830-1833)
VII. Youthful Decrepitude (1834-1835)
VIII. Demonic Influences (1836-1839)
IX. Italian Intermezzo (1839-1840)
X. Domestic Tranquility (1840-1842)
XI. The Joys of Dilettantism (1843-1845)
XII. Engraver's Ink and Heavenly Songs (1846-1847)
Index of Fanny Hensel's Compositions
General Index

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