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The Carpenters. The Corrs. The Magic Numbers. Put a brother and sister together and get them to write music, and it doesn’t always turn out well.
But in the early 19th century things were different, when Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn were changing the music world with their new Romantic sounds.
Here’s some stuff you (possibly) didn’t know about them:
1 They wrote music together growing up in Berlin, with Fanny helping Felix with his early pieces. Their relationship was intense, often described as that of ‘soul mates’.
2 Fanny was a respected pianist, but thwarted as a composer by conventions of the time (and her family). Some of Fanny’s pieces were originally published under Felix’s name.
3 However, this led Felix into a rather embarrassing situation when he met Queen Victoria in 1842. When the Queen took a particular liking to Italien, one of Fanny’s songs, Felix had to confess.
4 Fanny wrote her own wedding music, the night before the ceremony.
5 While married, Felix became besotted with the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, played by Rebecca Ferguson in recent film The Greatest Showman.
6. Felix and Fanny both died within five months of each other in 1847 – you could say they just couldn’t live without each other.
7. And completely randomly, in the 1930s a man named Felix Mendelssohn – born in Brondesbury Park, London, and claiming ancestry to the original Felix – introduced Hawaiian music to the UK, touring under the name Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenadors.
We play music by Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn at The Night Shift at The Lexington on Monday 4 June, 2018. Book now.