This morning I attended a lecture about Felix Mendelssohn's older sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel.
She was born in 1805 into a Jewish family that converted to Protestantism in order to assimilate into the upper echelons of the stratified Prussian aristocracy. Though she was precociously gifted with musical talent, she was told that music could only be an "ornament" in her life; her brother, Felix, was groomed to music greatness.
Fanny composed over 400 musical compositions. She organized and performed in.biweekly concerts in the "garden room," which seated over 200 people, in the mansion where she lived with her family. The famous and the powerful attended these.
Until 1847, Felix discouraged Fanny from having her works published. Upon the publication of a few of them, she said that she felt like she been been "reborn." At this point, she was writing prodigiously. She died less than a year later.
Fanny's works went undiscovered until the 1980's when a scholar wrote a biography of her famous brother and found himself fascinated by his older sister. One wonders how the course of Fanny's life would have been had she been born 150 years later.
(If the video below doesn't work, here is the link.)
worn again believers in the church of the wild
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