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Fanny Mendelssohn – The Year

Fanny Mendelssohn (1799 – 1847) began composing Jahr in August of 1841 as a twelve-part piano suite based on the months of the year. In 1846 she wrote to her brother Felix Mendelssohn to inform him that — against the strict wishes of the Mendelssohn family — she was beginning to publish her own music.

In 1847 her first favorable musical reviews were eclipsed by her untimely death on May 14. Grief-stricken, her brother died just six months later, but before his own passing he carried out her wishes by arranging for the publication of several of her songs and piano pieces.

Jahr constitutes in effect a musical diary of the year she and her family (Hensil) spent in Rome. In many ways it is more forward-looking and original than her brother’s work, closer to that of Liszt or Robert Schumann. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest of the unheralded piano suites of the nineteenth century. It has now been recorded, and is deserving of inclusion in the standard piano repertoire. FOR MORE


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