Fanny Mendelssohn, sister of Felix, was born in Hamburg in 1805. She first learned piano from her mother, and later studied in Paris and Berlin. Her musical training and talent were comparable to that of her brother. She performed weekly at her parents home in Berlin and wrote more than 400 works, most of which were never published. Although her father and brother discouraged her from publishing, her mother and her husband, artist Wilhelm Hensel, eventually persuaded her to submit some works for publication.
Most of Fanny Mendelssohn’s compositions were songs, piano pieces, and chamber music; she also wrote cantatas and oratorios. The Overture, one of her few orchestral pieces, is written in a Classical style.
“The work boasts bold modulations, a finely controlled rise and fall of tension, and scoring of a resourcefulness bordering on the quirky – some very low pedal notes for the horn, and a trumpet fanfare appearing from out of the blue.” (THE TIMES, March 10, 1994)
In her own words…
“I’m beginning to publish…and if I’ve done it of my own free will and cannot blame anyone in my family if aggravation results from it…then I can console myself with the knowledge that in no way did I seek or induce the kind of musical reputation that might have brought me such offers. I hope I shall not disgrace you all, for I am no femme libre…If it [my publication] succeeds, that is, if people like the pieces and I receive further offers, I know it will be a great stimulus to me, which I have always needed in order to create. If not, I shall be at the same point where I have always been.”