Transcription: Amanda Maier Pieces for Viola and Piano

Two of Amanda Maier's Six Pieces for Violin and Piano work beautifully when played down an octave on the viola, so I made this transcription to share the incredible wealth found in this music. You can find a score and a computer-generated recording on this page of the IMSLP Petrucci Library. You can also listen here.

Amanda Maier (1853-1894) was born into a Swedish working-class family, and in 1869 became the first woman to receive a music degree from the Stockholm Conservatory of Music. From 1873 to 1876 she studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Engelbert Röntgen, the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. She married his piano-playing son Julius. Maier, her father-in-law, and her son all played the Lipinski Stradivarius, the instrument that was stolen in January 2014 from Frank Almond, and subsequently returned.

Maier and her husband entertained Johannes Brahms and Edward Grieg in their home. Both Brahms and Grieg (who were frequent guests in Maier’s home) admired her ability as a composer, but the ethos of the time prevailed, and when Amanda became a mother, her main musical outlet became teaching her sons. She taught them well: Julius Röntgen Jr. became the second violinist in the Kneisel Quartet, and Engelbert Röntgen Jr. became the principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Maier’s Sechs Stücke were published in 1879 by the Leipzig publisher Breitkopf & Hartel, one year after Swedish publication of her Violin Sonata.

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