Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

Dr. Bob Prescribes The Music of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

As a child and then as an adolescent, Fanny Mendelssohn’s all-encompassing commitment to music as a pianist and as composer never wavered.  Fanny was not quite 15-years-old when her father Abraham dropped the bomb and forbade her to pursue music as a career.  She was, instead, to learn how to run a household and raise a family, both of which she did – joyfully and competently – until her terribly premature death from a stroke on May 14, 1847, at the age of 41.  She was “allowed” to choose her own husband, and she chose well: the Prussian Royal Court Painter and professor of painting Wilhelm Hensel (1794-1861).  Together they had one child, a son named Sebastian Ludwig Felix Hensel (1830-1898).   (“Sebastian Ludwig Felix Hensel.” I think we can all agree that it was Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel who named her son.  “Sebastian”, as in Bach; “Ludwig”, as in Beethoven; and “Felix” as in her brother, Felix Mendelssohn! Sebastian Mendelssohn was such a good boy.  Early on, he began compiling a history of the Mendelssohn family, based on Fanny’s diaries and the voluminous correspondence between his parents, Fanny and Felix.  Sebastian’s family history remains the bedrock on which rests all Mendelssohn […]

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Music History Monday: All Too Soon: The Death of Mendelssohn

On November 4, 1847 – 172 years ago today – Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn died in the Saxon/German city of Leipzig. He died all too soon; at the time of his death Mendelssohn was just 38 years old.

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Music History Mondays: Too Many Birthdays!

I began this “Music History Monday” project by scouring the Web for musical events from which I assembled a master list of what happened in the world of Western concert music on each of the year’s 366 days. (Indeed: 366; we cannot forget February 29. And yes, February 29 is a significant date in the history of Western concert music. Since February 29 will not again fall on a Monday until 2044, I don’t mind spilling those leap year beans right now: On February 29, 1792, the extraordinary Italian opera composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born in Pesaro, Italy. In his 76 years, the poor dude managed to celebrate only 19 birthdays!) My master list catalogs over a thousand noteworthy musical events. On most Mondays I have two or three events to choose between, although – every now and then – there are Mondays during which nothing noteworthy happened: nada, niente, zilch, zed, zero. Monday, September 19, 2016 was just such a day. Yes, many other noteworthy things occurred on September 19, among them: on September 19, 1870 the Prussian Army laid siege to Paris; on September 19, 1893, New Zealand became the first country to grant all women the […]

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