(Just a nice story for Easter and International Women’s Day.)
A Mendelssohn masterpiece was really his sister’s. After 188 years, it premiered under her name.
By Derek Hawkins – Washington Post
“Easter Sonata” — a complex four-movement piano composition from 19th century Germany — could only have been written by Felix Mendelssohn.
Or so thought many of the archivists, scholars and musicians who encountered it. The sonata was “masculine,” “violent” and “ambitious,” all the hallmarks of the celebrated Romantic era composer.
Written in 1829, the manuscript of “Easter Sonata” was considered “lost” for more than 140 years, until the original turned up in a French book shop bearing the signature “F Mendelssohn.” The collector who bought it concluded the “F” stood for Felix.
It took yet another four decades and a lot of clever musicological sleuthing, but in 2010 a Duke University graduate student revealed what some had suspected all along: “Easter Sonata” was not written by Felix Mendelssohn, but by his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn, herself a musical prodigy.
On Wednesday, in honor of International Women’s Day, “Easter Sonata” was performed under Fanny Mendelssohn’s name for the first time in a public concert hall, bringing Fanny and her widely-recognized masterpiece out of her brother’s shadow after 188 years.