Lied Ohne Worte : Work information

This work

Work name
Lied Ohne Worte
Work number
B flat major
1840-01-01 02:01:00

This recording

Newport Classic
John Ostendorf
Stephen J Epstein
Recording date
1998-01-01 01:00:00

The Composers

Fanny (Cäcilie) Mendelssohn-Hensel

Fanny Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg, the eldest of four siblings, one of whom was Felix Mendelssohn.  Her family were cultured, and firmly a part of fashionable salon life.  Fanny and Felix shared their love of music from an early age, with Fanny playing a contributory role in the composition of works as significant as Felix's St Paul.  Felix encouraged his sister musically, but advised her against publishing for reasons which are not clear.  He did, however, include some of his sister's songs in his own collections, such as the Op. 9 set.

Fanny's parents provided her with a thorough musical education, first at their own hands and then at the hands of eminent tutors such as C.F. Zelter, one of the musicians of the time seeking to revive the music of J.S. Bach.  Her first compositions date from around 1819, and she produced around 500 pieces in her life, mainly lieder or piano works.  In 1829 she married the court painter of Prussia, William Hensel.  Her brother married in 1837, after which their contact was less frequent.  She performed in public only once, in 1838, playing her brother's First Piano Concerto.

During a trip to Italy she met Gounod, the two forming a firm friendship, with Gounod later acknowledging the influence she brought to bear on his musical development.  Despite the notable size of her output, little of it was published; even now, many of her manuscripts are unavailable and so a thorough analysis of her style is problematic.  However her known works display fine crafting, and a traditional stance evidencing her admiration of composers unfashionable at the time, such as Mozart and Handel.

Track listing

  • 4:39 min