Mendelssohn receives attention years after sonata is released


     Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer, pianist, musical conductor, and teacher. He was one of the most-celebrated figures of the early romantic period, according to Britannica.

     His sister, Fanny Mendelssohn, is said to have written most of the music that has his name on it. She was a German pianist and composer as well. According to Britannica,  “Fanny is said to have been as talented musically as her brother… Felix readily admitted that his sister played the piano better than he did.”

     According to CNN, “Mendelssohn’s father and brother tried to prevent her from writing music and completely forbade publishing and playing her music.”

     Fanny wrote about 500 musical compositions in all, that is including 120 pieces for piano, art songs, chamber music, cantatas, and oratorios. Six of her songs were published under Felix’s name in his two sets of twelve songs.

     Fanny did receive her fame years later. In 2017, a sonata penned by her was performed under her name on International Women’s Day after it had been mistakenly attributed to her brother since 1970.

     According to the Washington Post, the “Eastern Sonata” is a complex four movement piano composition from the 19th century. Many archivists, scholars and musicians who encountered it thought it to be “masculine,” “violent” and “ambitious.”

     Music teacher Ms. Katelyn Hemling says Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann are her two absolute favorite composers. She says “I love them so much because I think it’s just special that after so much time, they’re finally getting the recognition that is so well deserved for the music they wrote during their lifetime that they didn’t get recognized for.”

     Hemling continues, “She has a really interesting story in that her brother was a very famous composer, but now we’ve come to find out or start to assume and look deeper into music and realize that it appears that she was a part of the writing process or wrote a lot of the music.”

     Fellow music teacher Mr. John Wojiechowski says, “it’s  unfortunate, but in that time period it was pretty common and there’s a lot of examples of music history where there were brothers and sisters or cousins where the female composer was arguably more talented.”

     He continues, “but because there was a lot of inequity between female composers and male composers at the time, they didn’t get the recognition they deserved, but they wanted their music out there so they had to give it to somebody else.”