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By R. Larry Todd

Granddaughter of the thinker Moses Mendelssohn and sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) used to be a unprecedented musician who left good over 400 compositions, so much of which fell into oblivion till their rediscovery overdue within the 20th century. In Fanny Hensel: the opposite Mendelssohn, R. Larry Todd bargains a compelling, authoritative account of Hensel's lifestyles and song, and her fight to turn out to be a publicly well-known composer.

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Granddaughter of the thinker Moses Mendelssohn and sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) was once a rare musician who left good over 400 compositions, such a lot of which fell into oblivion till their rediscovery past due within the 20th century. In Fanny Hensel: the opposite Mendelssohn, R.

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Quantz, not in the popular, galant style typical of that composer, but in severely contrapuntal idioms approaching the austerities of J. S. 22 A few manuscripts from Sarah’s library certify her patronage of C. P. E. Bach, for nearly thirty years the accompanist of Frederick the Great, who, when not redrawing the European map through his military campaigns, advanced his skills as a flutist; Emanuel Bach later served for twenty more years as the director of sacred music in Hamburg. Sarah possessed autographs of several experimental works from Bach’s very last year, 1788, presumably commissioned for her Berlin salon.

By 1816, Abraham had enrolled him in a private elementary school, where at age seven his impressive memory was attracting attention. That year, he was already studying piano and with Fanny examining the complexities of opera piano-vocal scores, gifts from his grandmother. His passion (Leidenschaft ), according to Lea, was to read the plays of Goethe and Shakespeare—to that end, his parents established a “small theater,” which Fanny provisioned with puppets. 60 In 1818, Abraham engaged a history docent from the University of Berlin to tutor Felix and Paul.

50 Though Friedländer’s optimism was not commonly shared, the wave of Berlin conversions continued to wash over the Jewish community, so that some historians later likened the apostasy to an epidemic of baptism. In the case of Abraham and Lea, the decision to convert was no impulsive act, but one influenced by family history and their status in Prussian society. In 1763, after repeated petitions, Frederick the Great had reluctantly granted Moses Mendelssohn a letter of protection (Schützbrief ),51 subsequently extended by Frederick William II to Moses’s widow and children in 1787, the year after the philosopher’s death.

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