November 14, 1805
May 14, 1847 in Berlin, Germany
Also Known As:
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was a talented pianist, composer of lieder and chamber music. She was the oldest of 4 children and the sister of composer Felix Mendelssohn. Their grandfather was Moses Mendelssohn; a known philosopher. Fanny and Felix remained close throughout their lives, they would often collaborate and perform together. They were so close that when Fanny died in 1847, Felix was said to have become so depressed and died 6 months later.
Type of Compositions:
Her mother; Leah, trained her musically and gave her piano lessons. Fanny also studied under Marie Bigot in 1816 while in Paris, then with Ludwig Berger in Berlin. In 1818, she began studying composition under Carl Friedrich Zelter. Although Fanny was a brilliant composer, her father; Abraham, discouraged her to consider composing as a profession.
She wrote over 200 lieders including her famous "Swan Song," over 100 piano music including bagatelles, fugues, preludes and sonatas. She wrote choral music including her famous cantata "Oratorium nach den Bildern der Bibel" and she also wrote instrumental music such as those for string and piano.
It is said that when her brother; Felix Mendelssohn, played for Queen Victoria in 1846 to 1847, the Queen was so impressed. The Queen further said that her favorite was "Italien," which Felix Mendelssohn admitted was the work of his sister Fanny. Fanny married Wilhelm Hensel; a painter on October 3, 1829. They had one son; Sebastian, named after Fanny's favorite composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Fanny and composer Clara Schumann were friends.
Listen to "Aus meinen Tränen" by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel courtesy of YouTube.