In view of the exchanges regarding the splendid 4th symphony, I thought it was worth adding to this informative thread from last year, rather than starting a new one. I see that Ms Mayer is duly omitted from standard reference books, and I can only assume that this reflects discrimination based on gender. She doesn't get a guernsey in the 1900 edition of Grove's Dictionary
, isn't listed in Brown’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
(1886), or mentioned in The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Music
(Samson 2002). She seems to be relegated to books devoted specifically to women composers, and the following information is taken from Women Composers: A Biographical Handbook of Woman’s Work in Music
(Otto 1902) Mayer (Emilie).
German composer, born at Friedland, Mecklenburg, May 14, 1812 ; died at Berlin April 10, 1883. A very talented and most prolific writer. Her parents, recognizing her great musical abilities, did all in their power to secure for her an excellent musical education. Her teachers were Carl Löwe, the eminent song writer, and B. A. Marx, the celebrated theorist, and later on Wieprecht in orchestration.
Her progress was so pronounced, and her compositions of such decided merit, that by the advice of her teachers, a concert w as given at Berlin, the program of which, consisting entirely of her own compositions, was as follows : Concert Overture for large orchestra, a String Quartet, the CXVIII Psalm for chorus and orchestra, and two Symphonies (“Militaire” and “B minor"), as well as two piano solos played by the author. She scored a great success with this concert and the production of her compositions, and as a reward was presented with the Gold Medal of Art, by Queen Elizabeth of Prussia.
Her works consist of several symphonies (the one in B minor has been arranged for 4 hands by A. Jurke, and is published by Bote &, Bock Berlin); two string quartets, two piano quartets (op. 14 in G minor published by Simrock, Berlin), two Quintets, ten Trios for piano, violin and cello (op. 12 in E minor, op.13 in D, op. 15 in B minor, are published by Challier, Berlin), S Sonatas for violin and piano (op. 17 in F, op. 18 in A minor, op. 19 in B minor, op. 21 in A, are published), 7 Sonatas for Cello and piano, several overtures, the aforementioned CXVIII Psalm for chorus and orchestra, about forty four-part songs, and quite a number of songs and piano pieces. Also an operetta “Die Fischerin”.
This is quite an imposing array of compositions for a woman (
). Not all of these works have appeared in print, particularly some of the more pretentious ones are still in manuscript. Of her published works not previously enumerated, the following deserve special mention: Op. 46 Faust overture for grand orchestra; op. 48 a pretty Nocturne for Violin and piano; op. 47 Sonata for Cello and piano; op. 17 Sonata for Violin; op. 13 Trio in D, for Violin, Cello and Piano; op. 21 Sonata for Violin and piano; op. 29 “Allemande fantastique”, the latter a very meritorious work for the piano, full of fire and energy. Also a set of pretty Waltzes, op. 30 and 32.