Text-Painting and Musical Style in the Lieder of Fanny Hensel
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The Lieder of Fanny Hensel have received very little attention from modern music scholars, and her music has mostly been looked at as only a sidebar to the music of her much more famous brother, Felix Mendelssohn. Adding to the pioneering works on Hensel's life and music by Marcia Citron, Stephen Rodgers, Yonatan Malin, R. Larry Todd, and several others, this study illuminates many of Hensel's characteristic text-painting devices and offers insight into her Lied style in general. I show how Hensel uses the musical parameters of melody, harmony, and their inherent attributes such as contour, texture, mode, modulation, text repetition, diatonicism, chromaticism, tessitura, and cadence types, and how they combine to interpret the texts she sets. Hensel's characteristic text-painting devices make her one of the most inventive song writers of the Romantic era.