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In this episode of The Eternal Feminine Podcast Series, we discuss Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn, later Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) (1805-1847). Born into a prominent German Jewish family, Fanny showed promising musical talent from an early age, but was prevented from pursuing a musical career by social conventions of the time, as well as the strict opinions of her father and brother (the composer Felix Mendelssohn). She contented herself with being a “critical eye” to her brother’s works (with whom she shared a close relationship), and eventually married Wilhelm Hensel, a painter, who, happily, encouraged her in her musical pursuits. Fanny Hensel composed over 400 musical works during her short lifetime ranging from vocal and piano works to chamber works and cantatas.
Listen to the full podcast to hear our discussion of this amazing woman and our recording of Hensel’s beautiful piece Sehnsucht nach Italien.
To learn more about Hensel’s fascinating roots and legacy, read our article “What’s in a name?”
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