Last Updated 07 Apr 2020

Music Comparison: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Ludwig Van Beethoven

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Music Comparison: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Ludwig van Beethoven Inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven and the ideas of Romanticism, the new group of composers in music were born. One composer, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, grew to love composing music, like Beethoven. The child prodigies both delighted in learning and performing music at a young age. Hensel learned music from many different teachers, but Beethoven was taught by more known instructors. Although the two composers both lived in Germany, they created very different compositions.

While Hensel and Beethoven have many differences between them, there are also similarities, which are sometimes over looked. Music was always a large part of both Hensel and Beethoven’s lives, beginning from when they were children. The composers grew up only four hours away from each other, yet in both households, they were composing music at a young age. The first person to teach Beethoven music was his own father. Hensel’s first teacher; her own mother.

At the age of twelve, Hensel started writing her own music, while Beethoven was composing by eleven years of age. These composers started writing at a very early age, proving that they are musical geniuses. Considering the many teachers the composers had, it would explain how they could create such beautiful music. Beethoven had many noteworthy teachers while Hensel was taught by many lesser-known, but just as talented, educators. Once Beethoven’s father’s teachings had reached it’s end, he was taught by Gottlob Neefe.

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Neefe taught mainly the organ and compositions to Beethoven and made a comment saying that “If he continues like this, he will be, without a doubt, the new Mozart” Although his teachers helped him greatly, Beethoven gave his first performance before any educator had taught him, when he was seven and a half, at Cologne, a large city in Germany. Her parents first taught her what was normally expected from a child, but later Hensel was taught by tutors the aspects of music. Some notable teachers that Hensel studied under were Marie Bigot, Ludwig Berger, and Carl Friedrich Zelter.

Hensel only performed once in public when she was twelve years old, from memory. Although she was very talented, Hensel’s father demanded that she never play music for a living, but maintain the role of a normal woman in their time. Hensel obeyed her father, but Felix Mendelssohn, her younger brother, was willing to help in her career. Mendelssohn was also musically talented and performed for the courts, sometimes playing Hensel’s works that she composed. Once when Mendelssohn was performing for Queen Victoria, she was very impressed and mentioned that the work “Italien” was her favorite.

Mendelssohn then admitted that that was his sister’s work. Hensel often composed lieders, bagatelles, fugues, preludes, sonatas, and choral and instrumental ensemble music, showing her versatility of music that she could perform and compose. One of her more famous works; "Oratorium nach den Bildern der Bibel" was a cantata. Another example of Hensel’s compositions is one of her lieders, “Swan Song”. Beethoven, though partially deaf in his late twenties or early thirties, composed chamber music, sonatas, symphonies, songs, quartets and more. He was almost completely deaf when Beethoven wrote his third to eighth symphony.

Many of Beethoven’s works are more famous than Hensel’s, but his most famous symphonies are the fifth and seventh symphonies. The many works that Hensel and Beethoven wrote were different than each other’s, but Beethoven is often known to help inspire the Romantic period composers. These two composers inspire many others to write and perform music throughout the world. There are many similarities between the two composers, even if Beethoven died only twenty-two years after Hensel was born. The two were great composers and musicians starting in childhood, increasing their knowledge of music early on. Though, they did not learn on their own.

Many different teachers, composers, and musicians taught and influenced Hensel and Beethoven. These composers prospered greatly in their careers, expanding their knowledge more every day. Although Hensel and Beethoven have passed on, they will both leave a great footprint on music for generations to come. References Anonymous(n. d. ) Music History: Resource Center. Retrieved from http://academic. cengage. com/music/book_content/049557273X_wrightSimms_DEMO/index. html Anonymous(n. d. ) Facts about Beethoven. Retrieved from http://www. buzzle. com/articles/facts-about-beethoven. html Anonymous(n. d. ) Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, 1805-1847.

Retrieved from http://lcweb2. loc. gov/diglib/ihas/loc. natlib. ihas. 200156440/default. html Anonymous(n. d. ) Biography: Beethoven’s Life. Retrieved from http://www. lvbeethoven. com/Bio/BiographyLudwig. html Estrella, E. (n. d. ) Profile of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Retrieved from http://musiced. about. com/od/famousmusicians1/p/fmendelssohn. htm? rd=1 Estrella, E. (n. d. ) Profile of Ludwig van Beethoven. Retrieved from http://musiced. about. com/od/classicalmusicians/p/beethoven. htm Estrella, E. (n. d. ) Music of the Romantic Period. Retrieved from http://musiced. about. com/od/historyofmusic/a/romanticmusic. htm? rd=1

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