89. What’s in a Name
- Reinecke: Flute Sonata in E Major, Op. 167 (“Undine”)
- Beethoven: Piano Sonata in D Major, Op. 28 (“Pastoral”)
Both of the sonatas on today’s podcast have descriptive titles but opinions vary as to the significance of these titles. It’s unknown whether or not Reinecke meant his flute sonata to be explicitly programmatic, but it’s interesting to know the namesake. The tale of Undine is similar to “The Little Mermaid,” but a bit more sinister. After longing for a life beyond her underwater kingdom, Undine marries her prince, but when she disappears and he marries another woman, she returns to kill him—with a kiss. Beethoven’s publisher, Cranz, supplied the nickname for his sonata opus 28, presumably to make the work more memorable and attractive to potential customers. One cannot help but look for reasons for his choice, though. The lilting downward scale and bass pedal in the first movement’s opening seem vaguely rustic, and the final movement has a bit of a barn dance quality.