Program Notes – Reinecke Undine Sonata

Here are some more program notes. Reinecke’s Undine Sonata written by my student Alicia McGorlick for her recent honours recital. Might be of use to anyone learning or performing this piece. Notes for Hue Fantasie and Takemitsu Voice to follow shortly.

Undine Flute Sonata Opus 167
Carl Reinecke

Carl Reinecke’s Sonata in E minor is based on the German romantic tale by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. The tale depicts Undine, a water spirit, who longs for an immortal soul which can only be obtained through true love with a mortal man.

The first movement portrays Undine in her underwater world with flute melodies that give off watery sounds.[1] She leaves the water kingdom in search of love with a mortal man and is discovered as a child by a fisherman and his wife who have recently lost their own daughter, who then decide to raise Undine as their own.[2]

The second movement paints a picture of Undine’s cheeky nature as she is growing up, which is depicted through the piano and flute melodic lines that chase each other. The piano’s proud folk-like solo section represents the knight Huldebrand who seeks shelter at the fisherman’s house from a raging storm.[3] He then falls in love with Undine.

The third movement represents the couples’ happy marriage.[4] They then both befriend Bertalda, who is revealed to be the true daughter of the fisherman and his wife. The peacefulness is interrupted when a fountain is uncovered and Undine’s uncle, a water spirit, rushes out and beckons to Undine not to continue this relationship with a mortal.[5] All is stilled suddenly by the dropping of a boulder over the fountain.[6]

In the fourth movement, all three good friends take a trip on the Danube, which rouses the anger of the water spirits.[7] Huldebrand states he wishes he never married Undine, for his life is constantly in danger from spirits. In shock, Undine falls overboard and sinks to the bottom.[8] Thinking she is dead, Huldebrand makes plans to marry Bertalda.[9] On the night of Huldebrand’s wedding Undine returns as a spirit and kills him with a kiss.[10]











Leave a Reply