Richard Andersson (1851−1918)

Pensées d'automne

opus 8

  • Year of composition: Potsdam 1877
  • Work category: Piano
  • Duration: Approx. 5-10 min

Examples of printed editions

Stockholm, Gehrman & Co, 'Album för Piano af Svenske Tonsättare' [Album for piano by Swedish composers], G. & Co 372 (1892) [the copy at the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket is dedicated to His Royal Highness King Oscar II (of Sweden), humbly presented by the publishers]

  • Location autograph: Stiftelsen Musikkulturens främjande
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: MMS 188
    (there is also a one-page sketch in Andersson's hand at the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Series I, no. 5137)

Description of work

Allegro strepitoso D minor 4/4 (C), 124 bars, D major, 36 bars, in total 150 bars

Work comment

From the beginning of his career, Richard Andersson, appears to have had ambitions to become a composer. In demand as a pianist, and later a devoted teacher, his opportunities to compose were thus somewhat limited. Most of his compositions were therefore written during his time as a student, from 1867 until 1884, after which his pianistic and pedagogical activities began to take precedence. Fourteen of the nineteen opus-numbered works were written during this period, as were many of those without opus numbers.

The majority of Richard Andersson's piano works adhere to the Romantic character piece, together with shorter works of moderate difficulty, which were more obviously written for educational purposes. These involve paraphrases of folk dances and folk songs from a number of countries, portraying a range of atmospheric impressions, with the pieces designed as different kinds of genre archetypes. In imitation of Schumann, the collections can also be presented as cohesive units. In his teaching, he placed emphasis on finding and shaping the content of each individual piece. Carefully inscribed performance directions are therefore often included, which assist with the pursuit of identifying the music's character. His piano pieces can thus be seen as exercises in identifying the characteristic idiosyncrasies within the individual works.

Richard Andersson's only major work for piano is the Piano Sonata in D Major from 1878, also composed whilst studying in Berlin. This four-movement sonata has a classic, traditional design with a first movement in sonata form, built from a gradual opening and two contrasting themes. The primary theme displays, in its rhythmical appearance, similarities to the finale of the Schumann Symphonische Etüden op 13. Whilst the secondary theme is folk-influenced, having obvious similarities with the corresponding theme in Stenhammar's First Piano Concerto. The main section of the second movement has a similar texture as the 'Romance' section in the suite entitled Skizzen. 7 Clavierstücke. In the movement's central section, a possible Russian influence is discernible. The right-hand double-stop technique and the left hand melodic formation show similarities with Anton Rubinstein's popular salon piece 'Kommenoi Ostrow'. Andersson also utilises a similar textural form in the song 'Der Gondolier' op. 3 from 1872.

The Sonata was published by the Swedish Art Music Society in 1889 and was performed by the composer at a concert in 1891. It was also performed at the music school's public concerts (in 1907 by Astrid Berwald), and was furthermore played, as late as the 1960s, in Rome by one of Andersson's foreign students, Manorita de Andauga. Stefan Lindgren has recorded the work.

© Bertil Wikman
Trans. Robin McGinley