Beginning October 2, 2023

A program about Fanny Hensel and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy on MDR Kultur

The concert from the MDR-Musicsummer will be broadcast on MDR Kultur, and will be retrievable on the Mediathek beginning October 2.

In order to hear the broadcast, please click the play button at the bottom left of the photo (described as 150 min) on the website of MDR Kultur.

Corinna Harfouch, recitation
Peter Lohmeyer, recitation
Hideyo Harada, piano

What an energetic personality she must have been! Fanny Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who later took the married name Hensel, was clearly spirited, intelligent, and musically gifted. A particularly vivid portrait of this musician is provided by the correspondence – stretching across three decades – she maintained until her death in 1847 with her far better-known brother Felix. Coming to expression in these letters is her tireless creative drive, her animated interest in the cultural life of her time, and her heartfelt sisterly affection – but also her irritation at the injustice of contemporary gender roles. For while her brother’s career was consistently encouraged, Fanny’s father was determined that she instead be trained “assiduously in the only profession available to a woman, that of housewife.”

Nevertheless, Fanny Hensel was not only a gifted pianist, but left behind a wide-ranging oeuvre of more than 460 musical compositions. Corinna Harfouch and Peter Lohmeyer have joined forces with the pianist Hideyo Harada to present a musical and literary evening that guides us into the heart of this music, and into Fanny’s mental world. Through letters and diary entries, flanked by texts by Zelter and Goethe, among others, Harfouch and Lohmeyer sketch a portrait of a powerful personality – of a woman condemned, seemingly, to live in the wrong century. Selected piano compositions by Fanny Hensel, supplemented by two compositions by her brother, testify to the extraordinary talent of this emotionally conflicted personality and provide insights into a lifework that still awaits full exploration.

Photo: Corinna Harfouch © Pascal Bünning, Peter Lohmeyer © Edith Held, Hideyo Harada © Uwe Arens