Erik Gustaf Geijer: Sonatas for piano four hands, text critical ed. of "Dubbelsonater Ess-dur, f-moll"
Inledning s. VII - X,
Introduction pp. XI - XV
Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783-1847) is one of the great personalities of scholarship and the arts in Sweden during the first half of the 19th century. His versatility and complicated personality are an abiding source of fascination, even though much of his life's work is now inaccessible or outmoded. Our only available testimony concerning the brilliant history lecturer who counted oratory as one of his principal fields of activity comes from contemporary sources. The historical research to which he devoted his utmost energies has been overtaken, understandably enough, by modern source criticism. His literary output, too, has been differently valued by different scholars. Paradoxically, it is perhaps the least familiar side of Geijer´s manifold talents-composition-that is most alive to-day. Geijer was one of the best-loved songwriters of the 19th century. But although, quantitatively, his output is dominated by vocal music, his loftiest ambitions were probably reserved to instrumental music. These works have received little attention hitherto, partly because they are difficult to come by.
It is above all his output of instrumental music in the 1820s that suggests a more central role for music in Geijer´s life. As a young man, he may even have toyed with the idea of becoming a professional composer. He studied continuo with Pehr Frigel, Secretary to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. But composition in Sweden at this time was a hazardous career. With so many talents to choose between, Geijer had difficulty at first in deciding on a career, and perhaps it was pure chance, in the form of sudden promotion prospects in historical research, that drove him into that field.
Chamber-music was little favoured in Swedish public music-making during the 19th century. It belonged mainly to the domestic sphere. The best-known '"institutions" for chamber-music in the first half of the 19th century were the home of J. Mazer and the circle round Geijer himself in Uppsala. Thus there was little need for printed music. Only one major instrumental composition by Geijer was printed in his own lifetime, namely the four-hand sonata in F minor presented here. The rest of his output was mainly passed on from one private hand to another, and even today, new autographs and manuscript copies are still coming to light.
Piano duets were a regular stand-by of the musical drawing rooms. Both the surviving sonatas for four hand here presented in a text critical edition, prove that Geijer was a skilful pianist and proficient in writing for two pairs of hands. The four-hand structure clearly inspired him. He has been at pains achieve independent parts, a contrapuntal texture and an economy of four-hand writing, with pleasing, full-sounding results. The second part in particular has been allotted an independent role not very commonly to be found in piano duets.
The musical style of Geijer's instrumental works is clearly rooted in the tradition of Viennese Classicism. Precursors can be looked for in Clementi, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Beethoven's influence particularly is very much in evidence. Several works present more or less obvious parallels-both in melody and harmony and in texture and performance marks.
Svenska samfundet för musikforskning, Edition Reimers AB , 2000. , 111 p.