Carl Reinecke's Sonata for flute and piano in E major, Op. 167 -- subtitled "Undine" (a female water spirit) -- is not programmatic music by any leap of the imagination; but there is something undeniably water-like about much of its music. When Reinecke composed the work around 1885, he had long been a fixture at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he continued in the vein of Felix Mendelssohn, espousing tradition. He seems to have acquired some of Mendelssohn's knack for capturing the essence and grace of natural phenomena without resorting to specific tone painting.
The sonata has four movements: 1. Allegro, 2. Intermezzo, 3. Andante tranquillo, 4. Finale (Allegro molto agitato ed appassionato, quasi Presto). The open fifths and light, up-and-down arpeggiation of the first movement's principal theme is perhaps the most water-like element in the sonata. Reinecke seems very taken with this idea and spins it out at great length before allowing a much shorter secondary theme to enter. The B minor Intermezzo operates on the ternary principle: Allegretto vivace -- Più lento, quasi Adagio -- Tempo I. Light, staccato sixteenth notes fly all over the place throughout most of the opening music (Mendelssohn truly lives on here), though a subsidiary idea in G major is so forceful with its dotted rhythms that the flute is forced to drop out and leave the more percussive piano all alone. The central trio section is in B major. The slow third movement is cast in G major and lovingly molded out of a melody that stretches and reaches around from pitch to pitch, register to register, in the manner of elongated pick-up gestures. There is a contrasting central episode in B minor, Molto vivace. A broad, fiery tune in the flute part, matched by undulating arcs in the piano right hand and a deep bass line in long notes, drives the Finale forward towards its quiet Più lento, E major close.
Reinecke also made an arrangement of the sonata for violin or clarinet and piano.