Did Louis Spohr compose a “Vocalise” ?
The correct answer is: No!
Paul Barker: Composing for Voice:
A Guide for Composers, Singers, and Teachers. London 2004, p. 121, 124.
In his book the author, Professor Paul Alan
"The form of vocalize as a basis for a complete composition dates back at least to Spohr,
whose Sonata for Voice and Piano Op. 138 of 1848 suggested an important development
of wordless vocal music" (page 121).
This assertion is absolutely wrong!
Louis Spohr's op.138 is a song with words, using the musical form of a "sonatina".
Text by Johann Karl Ritter Braun von Braunthal (1802 - 1866). The name of the poem is "An Sie am Clavier".
Louis Spohr himself stated in his list of works "Eigenes Werkverzeichnis" EWV Nr. 232; January 1848: "Lied" (song).
See also the title of the first edition by Luckhardt in Kassel, 1848 (Print plate No. 74):
"An Sie am Clavier", Gedicht von Braun von Braunthal,
in Musik gesetzt als
SONATINE FÜR PIANOFORTE MIT GESANG, von Louis Spohr.
More information about this "Lied" in our edition, Vol. 4, Edition Dohr 29954 (2010).
This error can be find also in other publications, for example:
Susan Chilcote, The Vocalise Art Song, DMA thesis, University of
The Oxford Dictionary of Musical Works, edited by Alison Latham, Oxford 2004, p. 176
The error resumes:
In the dictionary Grove Music / Oxford Music Online
Owen Jander writes in the chapter “Vocalise”:
“In 1848 Spohr wrote a Sonatina for voice and piano in which the voice is used very much like a solo instrument
(a violin or a flute), but it was not until the early 20th century that leading composers
turned in any great number to the vocalise as a concert piece. “
L.W. Stickler: Concert Vocalises for Solo Voice: a Selective Study (DMA diss., Indiana U.,1989
K.S. Chilcote: The Vocalise Art Song (DMA diss., U. of Oregon, 1991)
K.R. DeJardin: The Accompanied Vocalise and its Application to Selected Baroque, Classical, Romantic,
and Twentieth-Century Songs and Arias (DMA diss., U. of Arizona, 1992)