Fanny Hensel (1805–1847)

Among the women composers of the 19th century, none were more highly esteemed than Fanny Hensel and Clara Schumann. Like her brother Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Fanny Hensel was given a comprehensive musical education, ...

... with piano lessons from Ludwig Berger and composition from with Carl Friedrich Zelter. Nevertheless, the children's father made a sharp distinction between Felix and Fanny whenever conversation turned to the topic of professional composition: “Music may become a profession for Felix; for you, it will always remain a grace and can never become the basis of your being and your actions.”

Her marriage to the Prussian artist Wilhelm Hensel left her enough freedom, however, to make music and compose. In addition, after the birth of her son Sebastian, she began to breathe new life into family traditions such as the Sunday musical matinées at her house, where her own works were oftenperformed. A trip to Italy with her family in 1839/40 brought Fanny further recognition as a composer and pianist.

Until her sudden death on 14 May 1847, only songs (with and without words - in the style of Felix's ' Songs Without Words') of Fanny's had been published. Breitkopf & Härtel later published song books and thePiano Trio in d minor op. 11 from her estate. The two-volume Urtext edition of the Lieder by Annette Maurer has been making Fanny Hensel's vocal output shine more brightly and establish itself more solidly in the awareness of singers.