Fantasiestücke for Violin and Piano, Op.33
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. 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 Saëns, 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 Fantasiestücke dates from 1876. It was published in two versions, one for violin and orchestra and one for violin and piano. Gernsheim is said to have performed both parts, though not, of course, at the same time. Along with his Op.38 Introduction and Allegro, the Fantasiestücke was a trial run before he undertook writing a full-fledged violin concerto. Unlike the former, however, the Fantasiestück, while having certain demanding passages for the violin, is entirely slow, lyrical and highly romantic, an Andante sostenuto.
Unavailable for many years we are pleased to reintroduce an excellent recital work.