Mendelssohn-Hensel: The Year
Works by the composer Fanny Hensel (1805–1847), sister of the noted Felix Mendelssohn, have been joyously rediscovered in recent years, especially The Year, a 13-movement suite for piano in which each month is characterized, with a poetic postlude. Written in 1841 as a memoir of a trip to Italy that Hensel took two years earlier, The Year expresses spiritual richness in Bach-like chorales that exalt sections devoted to Christmas and Easter. Other months, especially June and July, are pensive and affectionately nostalgic. Felix Mendelssohn once stated that “sacred music, as such, [does] not stand higher in [his] estimation than any other, because every kind of music ought, in its peculiar way, to tend to the glory of God.” Clearly, his sister Fanny felt the same way. The Year is played with warmhearted devotion and buoyant zest by the young Latvian pianist Lauma Skride, who lavishes verve and spontaneity on this enchanting, long-neglected work.