Date of Degree
Allan W. Atlas
Bruce C. MacIntyre
The dissertation offers a critical edition of the Violin Sonata in E-flat Major (1844) by Peter Cornelius (1824–1874) based on the autograph manuscript (A-Wn Mus. Hs. 4752, fol. 31r–47r). An early work of a composer still in his student years, the sonata can nonetheless be considered one of the most ambitious instrumental compositions of Cornelius, who is well-known for his opera Der Barbier von Bagdad and his art songs. The sonata's four movements are: Allegro (340 mm.); Scherzo (B-flat major, 416 mm.); Fantasie (C minor, 35 mm.); and the finale (252 mm.).
In Chapter One, I describe Cornelius's family background and his life, education, and musical experience until 1841; in Chapter Two, the composer Heinrich Esser (1818–1872), followed by an assessment of Cornelius's studies with him (1841–43). Chapter Three deals with (1) Schubert's "Ungeduld" (from Die schone Mullerin) as the theme of the Fantasie; (2) Justinus Kerner's "Wanderlied," cited in the last movement; and (3) the fragment of Heinrich Heine's poem "Die Wallfahrt nach Kevlaar" which Cornelius wrote down on the verso of the title page of the sonata. It is argued that these three aspects point to the sonata being a farewell present for Cornelius's girlfriend, Fanny Kramer, upon the composer's expected leave for Berlin.
The edition itself is preceded by a Critical Commentary and facsimiles, and followed by a bibliography.
Knijff, Johannes P., "An Early Violin Sonata by Peter Cornelius: A Critical Edition and Study" (2005). CUNY Academic Works.