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Undine Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 167

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  • Highly recommended
  • Interesting, worth a look
  • Recommended edition

Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society

This review first appeared in Pan, the journal of the British Flute Society and is reproduced with permission. Join the BFS: membership starts from £20 a year.

This newly produced Urtext edition is beautifully presented, and edited by Ernst-Günter Heinemann. As one might expect from a scholarly edition, the Preface presents some extremely helpful biographical information about Reinecke, providing a useful context for the work. Heinemann contends that Reinecke’s works were not often played during his lifetime and would have been forgotten had his compositions for flute and harp not become an established part of the repertoire.

The Preface explains that the Undine Sonata is based on a novella by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, which tells the story of a water nymph who gradually changes into human form in a quest for love. It is thought that the Sonata was first published in September 1882, and was dedicated to the Principal Flute of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Wilhelm Barge.

This edition is based on the German first edition; there is also a surviving source from London which was produced at the same time as the Leipzig edition, but there is no manuscript available. The two surviving sources have considerable differences between them, and are thought to have derived from different manuscripts, with changes particularly in the piano part which are likely to have been made by the composer himself. The approach followed here is logical, aiming to avoid combining the two different sources but to show where they are different. The detailed editorial comments provide plenty of information for any performer-detectives to take up the adventure and make their own informed musical decisions.

The Undine Sonata has become a core part of the flute’s Romantic repertoire, and this new scholarly edition is a welcome addition to the available information regarding the work. For those interested in the full context of the work, this edition is a must—for everyone else, the clear presentation and high quality production of this edition make it hard to resist.

Carla Rees

From the Publisher

From among Reinecke’s abundant oeuvre, a very few works have from the beginning maintained their position in the concert repertoire. First and foremost among these is the Flute Sonata op. 167 with the sobriquet “Undine”, composed in 1882 and inspired by the eponymous fairy tale by Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué about the ill-fated love of a mermaid. It is not, however, meant programmatically, but rather, like Schumann’s poetic titles, as a framework of associations for this highly romantic, in places very virtuoso sonata in traditional, four-movement form. As the autograph is lost, the printed editions form the basis for the new critical edition of this sonata, which is solidly anchored in the flute repertoire and is now finally available as a Henle Urtext edition.

Performance duration (approx): 23'

Difficulty guide: 9
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).


  1. Allegro
  2. Intermezzo
  3. Andante tranquillo
  4. Finale

Item Details


  • Part 1: Flute
  • Part 2: Piano
Category: Romantic Flute and Piano Music
Publisher: G. Henle Verlag
Publisher's reference: HN1047
Our Stock Code: 1496949
Media Type: Paperback (34 pages [score])