Emilie Mayer

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883)

Nationality: German
Born: May 14, 1812, Friedland, Mecklenburg Died: April 10, 1883, Berlin (age 70)

Violin Sonata in a minor, Op. 18

(for violin and piano)
7:22 I. Allegro con brio
5:36 II. Adagio - Allegro agitato
5:56 III. Andante
6:12 IV. Allegro con brio
Duration: 25 minutes (approximately)
Published: 1864, Berlin: Bote & Bock (age 51-52)
Dedication: Professor Leopold Ranke
1 recording, 4 videos
autoopen autoplay
Aleksandra Maslovaric
I. Allegro con brio
Aleksandra Maslovaric
II. Adagio - Allegro agitato
Aleksandra Maslovaric
III. Andante
Aleksandra Maslovaric
IV. Allegro con brio
From Edition Silvertrust

Emilie Mayer“Emilie Mayer's Op.18 Violin Sonata is a magnificent example of the genre, such as we would hardly have expected from a woman."

—Hermann Zopff, the well-known critic and founder of the Berlin Opera Academy.

"Emilie Mayer's violin sonatas are very broad ranging, mature, yet formal and masterly designed compositions, of both fiery and spiritual character, as well as manly energy. They make a brilliant impression when performed."

—Albert Tottmann writing in his famous and never equaled Guide to the Violin Literature.

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) was born in the German town of Friedland. Although she received piano and organ lessons as a child, she did not pursue a musical career as her widowed father needed her to help keep house for him. It was only upon his death at the age of 28 that she pursued formal studies moving to the city of Stettin (since 1945 Szczecin in Poland) where she took composition lessons from Carl Loewe, the City Music Director. Loewe considered her extraordinarily talented and as a result she worked extremely hard, dedicating herself to composition. She was a fairly prolific composer, especially in view of the fact that she started to composer rather late. Among her many works number eight symphonies, six piano trios, two piano quartets, seven string quartets, two string quintets, seven violin sonatas, and twelve cello sonatas.

The Op. 18 Sonata in a minor dates from 1864. It was dedicated to the famous historian Leopold von Ranke, an amateur violinist of some ability, who was introduced to Mayer by Ranke's brother Ernst, a musician and theologian. The huge opening movement, Allegro con brio, is breath taking, highly original and immediately takes the listener’s attention with its drama and energy. In the second movement a calm but short Adagio introduction creates surprise with the appearance of an Allegro agitato which for all intents and purposes is a fleet footed scherzo. Next comes a lyrical and singing Andante. The finale, another Allegro con brio, is full of forward motion and quite exciting.

Surely this qualifies as a masterpiece. It need fear comparison from any other contemporary sonata and undoubtedly belongs in the front rank of violin sonatas. That it fell into oblivion can only be explained by the fact that Mayer was a woman. We have reprinted the original edition which we found in a library bound together in a thick volume. We hope that by making it available once again, it will take its rightful place in recital halls.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

1800 Hélène Liebmann (1795-1869) Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896)