Gustav Merkel was a German organist and composer. He was born on November 12, 1827, in Oberoderwitz, Kingdom of Saxony and was dead on October 30, 1885, in Dresden. He studied piano with Schumann’s father in law, Friedrich Wieck. He spent most of his career in Dresden, concentrating on organ-playing from 1858. A Lutheran himself, he nevertheless held an appointment at one of Dresden’s main Catholic churches from 1864 until his death. During the same period, he taught the organ at Dresden’s Conservatorium. His compositions include nine organ sonatas, and several dozen miniatures, some of them based on Protestant chorale melodies. In these works his style is conservative, very much influenced by Mendelssohn and Schumann, and with similarities to the output of his younger contemporary Josef Rheinberger. He also produced choral and piano pieces: is particularly well-known his salon piece “Schmetterling” (in English”Butterfly”), Op. 81, No. 4.
A Berceuse is a musical composition usually in 6/8 time that resembles a lullaby. Tonally most berceuses are simple, often merely alternating tonic and dominant harmonies. The effect is to put a baby to sleep, so chromatism is out of character of the piece. This piece Op. 18 N. 4 is in 6/8 time and with “Delicate and intimate” expression and melody “Cantando”.
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