Richard Andersson (1851−1918)

Sonate für Piano-Forte

opus 11


1. Andante — Allegro risoluto
2. Andante sostenuto
3. Allegro ma non troppo
4. Allegro — Tempo vivo

  • Year of composition: 'Comp. Berlin Nov-Dec 1878' (according to autograph)
  • Work category: Piano
  • Dedication: To Professor Heinrich Barth
  • Duration: 30 min
  • Detailed duration: Lindgren: 29'34'' (1: 7'14''; 2: 10'14''; 3: 4'36'': 4: 7'31'')

Examples of printed editions

Musikaliska konstföreningen, Stockholm, 1889, M.K. 45

Location for score and part material

Statens musik- och teaterbibliotek

  • Location autograph: Musik- och teaterbiblioteket
  • Possible call no. and autograph comment: R. Anderssons saml. [R. Andersson collection] (incomplete with sketch material)

Description of work

1. Andante D major alla breve
2. Andante sostenuto B-flat major 9/8
3. Allegro ma non troppo G minor 3/4
4. Allegro D major 2/4

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

Media files

Edition Swedish Musical Heritage