Emilie Luise Friederika Mayer

Feminale of Music

Portrait of the female composer Emilie Mayer

Unlike other female composers, she was not born into a family of musicians, but the daughter of a pharmacist. Her earlier works include songs and chants that probably served for the use of domestic music.

Emilie Luise Friederika Mayer was born in May 14,1812 in Friedland (Mecklenburg). She received her first piano lessons from an organist from Stettin, not mentioned by name, later she was a student of Carl Loewe from 1841 to 1847. He recognized Mayer's talent and sent her to Berlin. There she continued her studies with the music theorist and composer Adolf Bernhard Marx and her instrumental lessons with Wilhelm Wiprecht. Her works were performed in many places during her lifetime, including Brussels, Lyon, Dessau, Leipzig and Munich. In addition, Queen Elisabeth of Prussia awarded her an order after a concert in Berlin and in 1855 she was appointed honorary member of the Philharmonic Society in Munich.

The female composer died on April 10, 1883 in Berlin. The composer left behind works of numerous genres, including symphonies, overtures, a Singspiel after Goethe, a piano concerto, string quintets and quartets, piano quartets, piano trios, sonatas for piano and violin, sonatas for piano and violoncello, as well as numerous piano works and songs. Stylistically, Beethoven's influence can be felt in her early oeuvre, especially in the string quartets written between 1855 and 1858, which is why the early works can be classified as classical.

The »Neue Berliner Musikzeitung« writes in its »Musical Revue« section: »If one considers that the more austere forms of instrumental music and those of the fugue of male power themselves are causing problems, the extraordinary grows. Up to now women's hands have at most overcome one song [...] but a quartet and even a symphony with all the arts of movement and instrumentation – this should be considered a special, extremely rare case. […]. [The works are] healthy, freshly written movements that follow this or that model, especially Mozart and Rossini, and are very engaging, which testify to a great deal of writing skill and a sure command of the material [...]. Emilie Mayer has achieved and reproduced what female and second-order powers are capable of.« (Neue Berliner Musikzeitung 4, 1850, p. 138)

Until today, only a part of her works has been published at all.

Music Pieces

Sinfonie Nr. 4, Finale presto beginning minute 29:30, published by Gunnar Frederikson: Neubrandenburger Philharmonie conducted by Stefan Malzew

Faust Overture, published by Bom Cabedal and played by Neubrandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Stefan Malzew.

Cello-Sonate Nr. 4 D-Dur op. 47, published by 1musikpensionaer and played by Thomas Blees (violoncello) together with Maria Bergmann (piano) from »Musik für Violoncello und Klavier von Komponistinnen des 19. Jahrhunderts«.


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