The Mendelssohns: Moses, Felix and Fanny - Music, Sexism and Religion

The Mendelssohn family was one of the most prominent in Berlin during the early part of the 19th century.  This class will explore their fascinating story, beginning with Moses Mendelssohn, a hunchback who came out of the Jewish ghetto to rise up into the intellectual elite of Enlightenment Germany; to his son Abraham, who helped establish a great banking empire; to his son Felix Mendelssohn, one of the greatest child prodigies and composers of the Romantic period.  Abraham's wife, Lea Solomon, was a powerful female force who came from another prominent Jewish banking family, while their daughter, Fanny, showed similar musical talent as Felix and composed powerful and emotional Romantic music that has largely been forgotten.   This class will highlight how sexism and the cult of motherhood played a key role in limiting Fanny's musical output.  We will also focus on the role of religion and anti-Semitism in Felix's compositions, highlighting how it may have affected his musical style as well as the historical appreciation of his music over time.  Professor Daniel Weiser will perform numerous piano pieces by both Felix and Fanny during the class.  

Fee: $45 for Beth El Congregation members, $55 for non-members.

Location: Kolker Room.

For more information, contact Ellen Marks at [email protected] or 410-580-5166.