Schumann / Hensel Response Essay

Respond to the question on the document using the sources provided

Response Essay


Reading:  – Sarah Rothenberg, “Thus Far, but No Farther”: Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s

Unfinished Journey,” The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 4. (Winter, 1993),

  1. 689-708.


  • Balász Mikusi, “‘How Many Thousands of a Lazy Millionaire Are Tantamount to These Hundred Forints?’ Clara Schumann’s Donation to the National Conservatory in Pest,” Studia Musicologica 53, no. 4 (2012): 459-486.


Listening: – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Piano Trio, 1st movement (available on



  • Clara Schumann, Piano Trio, 1st movement (available on iTunesU)

Scores for both works are available in I-Learn, under the assignment in the “Assignments” folder

Read both articles, then listen to the pieces and consider the following questions:



  1. What does each article reveal about these two women’s lives, both personally and creatively? How did their life expectations differ from one another, both within themselves and externally?  What issues made Clara Schumann’s life different from Fanny Hensel’s?  How do their expectations differ from those that today’s women have for themselves and from others?  Have any expectations stayed the same?
  2. How do these pieces differ in style and composition?  What level of skill is required for people who might play this music?  Both composers were pianists.  Do you see any evidence of the expectation of skill level being higher for the pianist than for the string players?
  3. What do each of these movements suggest about what these composers knew about writing music?  What moment(s) in both pieces stand out to you?  If nothing stands out, why?
  4. Some people feel that the music of women composers is covered in university courses, simply because it was written by women, but has little other merit.  How do you feel about the quality of this music?  Are these pieces “good music”?  Why or why not?


Write a 2-3 page essay addressing the issues brought up in the thought questions.  Please be sure to quote or paraphrase information from the articles as a method of backing up the ideas you express.  Be sure to cite the sources you quote correctly in Chicago style, following the examples in Turabian, chapters 16 and 17. When referring to examples in the music, please use specific measure numbers.


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