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Fanny Mendelssohn: November

Can you guess this piece? Here's a hint: go to the back of the calendar and back up a step...

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel is perhaps best-known in connection with her brother Felix, certainly the more famous composer. While she was a prolific composer in private, her conservative family and the constraints of her historical era discouraged her from publishing until the end of her life. “The Year,” a suite for solo piano, remained unpublished during her lifetime. Consisting of a movement for each month, plus a postlude, “The Year” is, like our theme, a “months-plus-one” work. Most of the movements reflect upon a year of travel in Italy with her husband and son.

She “comes home,” however, in quotations of Lutheran chorales. These are thematically chosen: the Easter chorale “Christ is Arisen” is heard in March, the Christmas chorale “From Heaven High” in December, and “The Old Year has Passed” in the Postlude.

Music Heard On This Episode

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel: The Year: November
Leana Serbescu — Das Jahr (CPO Records, 1993)
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album cover
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel: The Year: November
Leana Serbescu — Das Jahr (CPO Records, 1993)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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