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Songs, Vol. 1 Naxos 8.570981


Composer: Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

Lyricists: Joseph von Eichendorff, Emanuel von Geibel, Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Nikolaus Lenau, Friedrich Ruckert

Artists: Dorothea Craxton, Babette Dorn


A gifted composer of some 500 works, mainly songs and small piano pieces,
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel has been eclipsed by the fame of her younger brother
Felix Mendelssohn. Yet her sensitivity in setting the German Romantic poets she
loved, principally Goethe, Heine, Geibel and von Eichendorff, warrants greater
attention. Like Clara Schumann, whose songs Dorothea Craxton has also recorded
for Naxos, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel possessed a distinct and richly powerful
musical voice, by turns introspective, melancholic, delicate, lilting and
serene—which deserves to be heard on its own terms.

Songs, Vol. 1 Review

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, younger sister of Felix, undeniably shared in
the family gift, and just as undeniably had that gift suppressed by the ways of
the world she lived in. Her strongest support came not from her brother, who
passed off her songs as his own on occasion, but from her husband, artist
William Hensel. Mendelssohn-Hensel's son­gs are simpler than Felix's and have
an attractive melodic aspect. There seems to be an undercurrent of tension in
some of them, and performers have tried biographical approaches, sometimes
pairing Fanny's songs with Felix's, to try to bring out the deeper levels of
Fanny's works. German soprano Dorothea Craxton, who has also recorded music of
Clara Schumann, offers a

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