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UMFK music professor speaks at Florida State University

November 11, 2005


University of Maine at Fort Kent associate professor of music and education Scott Brickman will read his paper entitled, Hensel the Progressive at the International Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel Conference held at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida November 13 through November 16.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-47), whose life and music have generated much interest among musicians, scholars, and the listening public in recent years.

The oldest child in one of nineteenth-century Berlin's most prominent and cultivated families, Mendelssohn received outstanding cultural and musical education. For many years after her death, her music had been overlooked in favor of her brother, composer Felix Mendelssohn.

The International Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel Conference offers the occasion for a major celebration of this important composer, performer, and cultural leader in the music of her time and place.

Brickman's presentation, which is a refinement of a chapter of his Ph. D. dissertation, uses a formal analysis of Hensel's Piano Trio and explains her ability to internalize the progressive romantic style through the idiom of connoisseur music.

His work depicts how the interesting and formal features of Hensel's Piano Trio foreshadows the late romantic style. Brickman's presentation shows that although innovations are grounded within the Viennese chamber music tradition, Hensel was able to consol¬idate the progressive romantic characteristics from the music of public genres, such as the piano pieces of Chopin and the Symphonies of Beethoven within the chamber music genre.

A prolific composer, Hensel wrote in many genres. Though some of her work saw publication early among the songs of her brother Felix, she began a publishing career only toward the end of her brief life. Much of her work remained in manuscript until the late twentieth century, but it has begun to reappear and to receive its due recognition and appreciation.

Brickman's dissertation and his forthcoming paper show Hensel not to be the mere imitator of any one composer, especially her brother as traditionally thought, but a skilled composer in her own right whose style provides an insight to the development of the romantic style.

His instrumental and electronic compositions have been performed in major cities throughout the United States as well as in Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. Sketches of Maine is recorded on the New Ariel label and Signature: Peace on the Capstone label.