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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 “The Year,” a suite for solo piano, remained unpublished during her lifetime.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.

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