Divertimento for Flute, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass, Op.53
Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916) is a composer whose music was held in the highest regard by his colleagues and critics during his lifetime. Brahms and Max Bruch to name but two were among the many admirers. Gernsheim, somewhat of a piano and violin virtuoso as a child, was eventually educated at the famous Leipzig Conservatory where he studied piano with Ignaz Moscheles and violin with Ferdinand David. After graduating, he continued his studies in Paris, getting to know Saint SaŽns, Lalo, Liszt and Rossini. Despite his admiration for France and the French, he returned to Germany and during the course of his life, he held academic and conducting positions in Cologne, Rotterdam and finally Berlin.
The Divertimento for Flute, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello and Bass dates from 1886. It is in four engaging and highly appealing movements: Andante, Allegretto vivace e scherzando, Allegro ma non troppo ed energico and Presto. The Divertimento was quite popular for several decades and was often played by a small chamber orchestra rather than a sextet, though this is not was not what Gernsheim had actually intended. That this was the case was probably due to the fact that a sextet for flute and strings is a combination that would rarely be performed in concert. To be clear, the work is in no way a concerto for the flute and though it is often given the lead, each of the string parts is of considerable interest and important. The integration fo the flute into the body of the work gives proof that this is a real chamber music work. (Unfortunately, the only recording we could find is with a string chamber orchestra, but you will certainly get a good idea of the work)
We have reprinted the first and only edition. The Divertimento deserves your consideration as it not only is fun to play but is sure to please an audience.