Hensel, Fanny (Cäcilie) (née Men dessohn-Bartholay)

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Hensel, Fanny (Cäcilie) (née Men dessohn-Bartholay)

Hensel, Fanny (Cäcilie) (née Men dessohn-Bartholay), German pianist and composer, sister of (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy); b. Hamburg, Nov. 14, 1805; d. Berlin, May 14, 1847. She began her musical training with her mother, then studied piano with Berger and composition with Zelter, and subsequently studied with Marie Bigot in Paris (1816). She later attended Humboldt’s lectures on physical geography and Holtei’s lectures on experimental physics in Berlin (1825), but music remained her great love. She married the painter W. Hensel on Oct. 3, 1829. From 1843 she oversaw the Sunday morning concerts at Berlin’s Elternhaus. Her untimely death was a great shock to Mendelssohn, who died a few months afterward. She was a talented composer; 6 of her songs were publ, under her brother’s name in his opp. 8 and 9 (Heimweh, Italien, Suleika und Hatem, Sehnsucht, Verlust, and Die Nonne). Other works publ, under her own name, including some posthumously, include 4 books of songs, a collection of part-songs entitled Gartenlieder, and Lieder ohne Worte for Piano.


S. Hensel, Die Familie M. 1729-1847, nach Briefen und Tagebüchern (Berlin, 1879; 18th ed., 1924; 19th ed., rev. and abr., 1959; Eng. tr., 1882); F. H.: Dokumente ihres Lebens, Ausstellungskatalog der Staatsbibliothek Preussicher Kulturbesitz, II (Berlin, 1972); M. Citron, ed., The Letters of F. H. to Felix Mendelssohn (Stuyvesant, N.Y., 1987); F. Tillard, F. M. (Paris, 1992); P.-A. Koch, F. H. geb. M. (1805–1847): Kompositionen (Hofheim, 1993); H.-G. Klein, Die Kompositionen F. H.s in Autographen und Abschriften aus dem Besitz der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Katalog (Tutzing, 1995); M. Helmig, ed., F. H, geb. M. B. (Munich, 1997); A. Maurer, Thematisches Verzeichnis der klavierbegleiteten Sololieder F. H.s (Kassel, 1997); A. Olivier, Mendelssohns Schwester F. H.: Musikerin, Komponistin, Dirigentin (Düsseldorf, 1997); E. Weissweiler, ed., “Die Musik will gar nicht rutschen ohne Dich:” Briefwechsel 1821 bis 1846 F. und Felix Mendelssohn (Berlin, 1997); B. Borchard and M. Schwarz-Danuser, eds., F. H., geb. M. B.: Komponieren zwischen Geselligkeitsideal und romantischer Musikästhetik (Stuttgart, 1999).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Hensel, Fanny (Cäcilie) (née Men dessohn-Bartholay)

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