Carl Reinecke

Sonata for flute & piano in E major ("Undine"), Op. 167

    Description by Blair Johnston

    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.


    1. Allegro
    2. Intermezzo. Allegretto vivace - Più lento, quasi Andante
    3. Andante tranquillo - Molto vivace
    4. Finale. Allegro molto agitato ed appassionato, quasi Presto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 CPO 7779492
    2017 Hungaroton HCD 32767
    2017 Hungaroton HCD 32774
    2017 Hänssler Classic HC 16087
    2016 Gall (formerly Gallo) CD 1462
    2016 Urania LDV 14024
    2016 Titanic TI 280
    2015 Gramola GRAM 99084
    2015 Indesens INDE 074
    2014 Claves 509307
    2013 Gega GD 368
    2013 Stradivarius 33935
    2011 Meerenai Shim
    2010 Divine Art 21371
    2010 BIS 1729
    2009 Tudor Records 792
    2007 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946373708
    2007 EtCetera Records 1338
    2007 Avie 2131
    2006 MSR Records 1161
    2006 Naxos 857018
    2006 Skarbo 4061
    2005 Apex 4623622
    2001 Tudor Records 798
    2000 Novalis 150139
    1999 RCA 63432
    1999 Disques Pierre Verany 730099
    1997 RCA 61615
    1994 BIS 183
    1993 Marquis Classics 81143
    1992 Chandos 8823
    RCA 63437
    Ulrike H. Anton
    Cantilena Records
    Bluebell 017
    SNE 609
    Petrichor 1
    Catalpa Classics
    Camerata Records 204
    Meridian Records 84320
    Stereophile 001