Flute Sonata ‘Undine’ Op. 167 (1882)

Carl Reinecke (1824-1910)

Program note written by Jacob Farmer

I. Allegro
II. Intermezzo Allegretto vivace
III. Andante tranquillo
IV. Finale Allegro molto agitato ed appassionato, quasi Presto

Approximate Performance Time:
19 minutes

Advanced – appropriate for upper level college undergraduates or master students

James Galway & Phillip Moll. Sonata, Op. 167 “Undine”. Sony Music, 1981. MP3.

Source Article:
Bethea, Stephanie. “The Flute Music of Carl Reinecke.” Order No. 3318159 University of Washington, 2008. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Carl Reinecke, born June 23, 1824, in Altona (modern day Hamburg), is a highly respected composer, known best for his cadenzas and concertos, and more widely for his flute sonata Undine. He was taught by his father, and began composing at just seven years old. At age nineteen, Reinecke began his first concert tour in Copenhagen to accompany H. W. Ernst, violinist. He continued his travels until he was appointed Court Pianist in Denmark until 1848. His next appoint was in Breslau, where he succeeded Mosewius as director of the Singing Academy. However, after his wife died in 1860, he returned to Leipzig. Reinecke unhappily spent much of his later years looking for a permanent position of which he was well prepared for. Reinecke died on March 10, 1910, in Leipzig. 

Piece Information:
Reinecke’s Flute Sonata ‘Undine’ is based off a German tale in a novel title Undine. The novel was written by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque in 1811. The story follows a water spirit Undine looking to become immortal. In order to become immortal, she must marry a mortal man. The first movement portrays Undine wondering the sea longing for a soul. The next movement represents Undine outside of her world, meeting a knight named Hulbrand. The third movement illustrates their joy of the new marriage. The final movement depicts the anger over the argument between Undine and Hulbrand and Undine is forced to go back to the sea. Hulbrand then remarries, so Undine leaves her water world on their wedding night and gives Hulbrand a kiss that kills him. Undine goes to the funeral, leaving two small stream encircling the grave. Carl Reinecke’s Flute Sonata ‘Undine’ shows his devotion to absolute music in musical form by following the traditional sonata form but showing a hint of programmatic influence with his character piece titles and inspirations.