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Martina Frezzotti|Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Music

Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Music

Martina Frezzotti

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One of the most prolific female composers of the 19th century, Fanny Hensel was also a pianist of rare talent and prodigious memory who dazzled private audiences at her concert series in her Berlin home. During her lifetime, Hensel’s career was overshadowed by the career of her brother, Felix Mendelssohn. She received much the same liberal education in the arts as Felix, and demonstrated hardly less talent than him as a musician, a linguist and an artist in her early years. Hensel’s music reflects her deep reverence for Bach and Beethoven, but it also exhibits the fine craftsmanship and lyricism associated with her brother’s music, and her own experimental and inventive approach to form and content. She allowed her music to be published only in the year before her early death at the age of 41 - which foreshadowed and probably hastened her brother’s demise - though in fact several of her pieces had already appeared in print under her brother’s name.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was born in Hamburg in November 1805, the eldest of four siblings (the second was Felix, followed by Rebecca and Paul). The Mendelssohn family, of Jewish lineage, and belonging in the upper bourgeois class, gave a brilliant cultural education to their four children. “This is a family, the like of which I have never known [...] Felix Mendelssohn is already a mature artist, and he is still only fifteen! [...] His elder sister Fanny, also immensely talented, played some of Bach’s fugues and passacaglias by heart and with admirable precision. I believe she can justifiably be called ‘a good musician’...” Thus Moscheles wrote down in his journal, in 1818.

Martina Frezzoti’s choice of repertoire focuses on the period of 1838 to 1841, bookended by a pair of dreamy nocturnes. By this point in her life Hensel had been married to the painter Wilhelm Hensel for almost a decade and had produced dozens of Lieder and short piano pieces, as well as a String Quartet (one of the first women to do so), concert arias, choral songs and a cantata. Written during her Italian journey, the album’s major work is a cycle of character pieces based on the months of the year, and ingeniously unified by leitmotifs which run through the 13 pieces (including a final chorale). There are many thematic cross references between the pieces, as well as numerous references to Bach, connected to the music typical for the Lutheran worship. The Spring Song for May bears comparison with Felix’s much more famous example, and several other pieces in the cycle could easily pass for one of his Songs without Words. Also included in this recording are the two Nocturnes and the Introduction and Capriccio in B minor, in which the influence of her brother Felix is particularly evident.

Born in 1986, Martina Frezzotti studied with both Lazar Berman and Elisso Virsaladze, and this Russian training manifests itself in both the power and the expressive sensitivity of her playing. She has retained strong performing connections in Russia and Ukraine, as well as her native Italy. This highly appealing collection marks her recorded debut. © Piano Classics

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Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Music

Martina Frezzotti

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1
Das Jahr, H.385: I. January. Ein Traum
00:02:42

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

2
Das Jahr, H.385: II. February. Scherzo
00:03:00

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

3
Das Jahr, H.385: III. March
00:05:25

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

4
Das Jahr, H.385: IV. April. Capriccioso
00:03:09

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

5
Das Jahr, H.385: V. May. Frühlingslied
00:03:03

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

6
Das Jahr, H.385: VI. June. Serenade
00:03:23

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

7
Das Jahr, H.385: VII. July. Serenade
00:03:26

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

8
Das Jahr, H.385: VIII. August
00:04:45

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

9
Das Jahr, H.385: IX. September. Am Flusse
00:04:00

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

10
Das Jahr, H.385: X. October
00:03:20

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

11
Das Jahr, H.385: XI. November
00:05:01

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

12
Das Jahr, H.385: XII. December
00:05:48

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

13
Das Jahr, H.385: XIII. Postlude. Choral
00:02:04

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

14
Nocturne in G Minor, H.337
00:03:45

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

15
Nocturne Napolitano in B Minor
00:03:03

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

16
Introduction and Capriccio in B Minor, H.349
00:06:52

Fanny Mendelssohn, Composer - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher - Martina Frezzotti, Artist, MainArtist

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

Album Description

One of the most prolific female composers of the 19th century, Fanny Hensel was also a pianist of rare talent and prodigious memory who dazzled private audiences at her concert series in her Berlin home. During her lifetime, Hensel’s career was overshadowed by the career of her brother, Felix Mendelssohn. She received much the same liberal education in the arts as Felix, and demonstrated hardly less talent than him as a musician, a linguist and an artist in her early years. Hensel’s music reflects her deep reverence for Bach and Beethoven, but it also exhibits the fine craftsmanship and lyricism associated with her brother’s music, and her own experimental and inventive approach to form and content. She allowed her music to be published only in the year before her early death at the age of 41 - which foreshadowed and probably hastened her brother’s demise - though in fact several of her pieces had already appeared in print under her brother’s name.

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was born in Hamburg in November 1805, the eldest of four siblings (the second was Felix, followed by Rebecca and Paul). The Mendelssohn family, of Jewish lineage, and belonging in the upper bourgeois class, gave a brilliant cultural education to their four children. “This is a family, the like of which I have never known [...] Felix Mendelssohn is already a mature artist, and he is still only fifteen! [...] His elder sister Fanny, also immensely talented, played some of Bach’s fugues and passacaglias by heart and with admirable precision. I believe she can justifiably be called ‘a good musician’...” Thus Moscheles wrote down in his journal, in 1818.

Martina Frezzoti’s choice of repertoire focuses on the period of 1838 to 1841, bookended by a pair of dreamy nocturnes. By this point in her life Hensel had been married to the painter Wilhelm Hensel for almost a decade and had produced dozens of Lieder and short piano pieces, as well as a String Quartet (one of the first women to do so), concert arias, choral songs and a cantata. Written during her Italian journey, the album’s major work is a cycle of character pieces based on the months of the year, and ingeniously unified by leitmotifs which run through the 13 pieces (including a final chorale). There are many thematic cross references between the pieces, as well as numerous references to Bach, connected to the music typical for the Lutheran worship. The Spring Song for May bears comparison with Felix’s much more famous example, and several other pieces in the cycle could easily pass for one of his Songs without Words. Also included in this recording are the two Nocturnes and the Introduction and Capriccio in B minor, in which the influence of her brother Felix is particularly evident.

Born in 1986, Martina Frezzotti studied with both Lazar Berman and Elisso Virsaladze, and this Russian training manifests itself in both the power and the expressive sensitivity of her playing. She has retained strong performing connections in Russia and Ukraine, as well as her native Italy. This highly appealing collection marks her recorded debut. © Piano Classics

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