Hélène de Montgeroult’s Trois sonates pour le pianoforte, opus 5, were published by M lles Érard between 1804 and
1807. De Montgeroult (1764-1836) also brought out a Pièce pour le fortepiano, opus 3, in 1804, according to
an announcement in the Journal de Paris on 25 August. Opus 4, now lost, undoubtedly dates from the same period. A
variety of sources claim that it contained Pièces détachées pour piano; Fétis, on the other hand, believes it was made up
of three Fantaisies. De Montgeroult’s last published work (apart from her Cours complet, which does not have an opus
number) probably appeared in 1807, when Six Nocturnes à voix seule avec accompagnement de pianoforte, paroles tirées
de Métastase, opus 6 were published in Paris by M lles Érard.
The second edition of de Montgeroult’s opus 5, on which this score is based, was also published by M lles Érard. Its
engraving is not of the same quality as that of the Marquerie brothers, who prepared the Cours complet. Two articles in the
press announced the publication of opus 5 (Les Tablettes de Polymnie (II, 20 April 1811, page 351), and Le Journal de
Paris, 10 April 1811).
The many editions of Hélène de Montgeroult’s works during her lifetime attest to the success of her music in salons, for
which much piano music of the time was written. Four editions of opus 1 were published (including one in Germany), four
of opus 2, and two of both opus 4 and opus 5. The Cours complet pour l’enseignement du forte piano appeared in three
French editions, all printed from the same plates; a German edition was also published around 1839. Castil-Blaze, a famous
critic of the time, stated (in the Dictionnaire de musique moderne (1828)) that Hélène de Montgeroult had “composed
beautiful piano sonatas”.
These many editions notwithstanding, only a few copies of the opus 5 sonatas have survived. This is perhaps because
these works were not written for the concert stage, and thus found their way infrequently or not at all into public libraries.
The sonata in F sharp minor is the third work of opus 3, and is the ninth and last of Hélène de Montgeroult’s sonatas. Her
style in this piece is more classical than in the Cours complet, which is logical for a sonata.
Jérôme Dorival, Éditions Modulation director – november 2014. (Translation: Marcia Hadjimarkos)
(Bruno Robillard – 2006)