Nicolai von Wilm

Nicolai von Wilm (1834-1911)

Nationality: German | Russian
Born: March 4, 1834, Riga Died: February 20, 1911, Wiesbaden (age 76)

String Sextet in b minor, Op. 27

I. Larghetto - Allegro vivace
II. Andante espressivo
III. Allegro molto
IV. Allegro con brio
Published: 1882 (age 47-48)
From Edition Silvertrust

“It cannot be denied that Nikolai von Wilm’s String Sextet in b minor, Op.27, dating from 1882, is a fine work. Beautiful sounding and cleverly written, the work is light hearted in spirit. It opens with a Larghetto introduction which leads to the main section Allegro vivace. The first theme is a lilting melody. The main subject of the second movement, Andante espressivo, is of an elegiac nature, while the second melody is more exuberant with the aroma of the coffee house. Next comes a fleet scherzo, Allegro molto, with a sweet melody in the contrasting trio section. The finale, Allegro con brio, is march-like and energetic. Not at all difficult to play, this is a work which can be warmly recommended to amateurs.”

Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Chamber Music Handbook.

Nicolai von Wilm (1834-1911) was born in the old Hanseatic city of Riga, today’s capital of Latvia, but then part of the Russian empire. In the 19th century, Riga was still predominantly a German city and Wilm’s family was ethnic German. He first learned piano and then studied that instrument as well as composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Subsequently, he worked as a music director in Riga and St. Petersburg after which he moved to Wiesbaden in Germany where he remained for the rest of his life. He was a prolific composer who wrote in most genres, but the bulk of his music was for piano. However, he did not ignore chamber music and besides this string sextet, also has two string quartets, a string nonet, a piano trio and several sonatas to his credit, all of which the famous music critic Hugo Riemann described as important works. Riemann noted that the String Nonet, for two string quartets and bass) was the only nonet exclusively for strings, all previous nonets were for mixed ensembles of winds and strings.

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