A guide to Fanny Mendelssohn’s music -BBC magazine article

A brief introduction to one of history’s best known female composers.

Piano pieces

Fanny Mendelssohn excelled in short forms, using the focus as a kind of sketch, or diary. The pieces are often pictorial, as heard in Das Jahr, her musical account of her year in Italy. Reflecting her great energy, frequently the piano writing is excitingly virtuosic.


She loved writing songs and wrote about 300; her brother Felix was so impressed at her skill in this that he didn’t wish to compete. The majority of her texts were by Goethe, Eichendorff, Heine, Hölty, Klopstock, Lenau, Novalis, Schiller, Tieck and Uhland, several of whom she knew personally. She had a direct response to the atmospheric content of the words, which she supported with demanding and expressive piano parts.

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