Violin Sonata G major op. 78
Editor: Hans O. Hiekel
Fingering: Hans-Martin Theopold
Fing. vn: Karl Röhrig
Preface: Wolfgang Sandberger
Urtext Edition, paperbound
with marked and unmarked string parts
Pages: 65 (IX, 30, 13, 13), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 75 · ISMN M-2018-0075-2
Level of difficulty (Violin): medium (Level 6)
The Sonata in G major owes its epithet “Rain Song Sonata” to two melodies from Brahms’ “Rain Songs” op. 59 nos. 3 and 4 which are quoted at the beginning of the last movement. An ornamental leaf with the first 24 bars of the “Adagio” was recently re-discovered and has been reproduced as a facsimile in this edition. It shows the connection between the work and Clara Schumann and her youngest son. Felix, Brahms’ godson and a talented violinist, was seriously ill and died before the work was completed. In a letter of dedication on the reverse of the leaf, Brahms expresses his deepest sympathy and his best wishes. This single edition from the volume containing all of Brahms’ violin sonatas (HN 194) contains a preface by Wolfgang Sandberger, illuminating the genesis of the “Felix Sonata”.
What is particularly interesting about this new publication …, is the much longer, detailed and informative Preface. … This publication would seem extremely good value for money – whatever the current exchange rate!
[ESTA – Arco Magazin, 2009]
To mark this significant discovery, Henle has reprinted the sonata with a beautiful sepia facsimile of the sketch/letter. There are two violin parts; an edited version and an urtext one; handy if one wants a part uncluttered by someone else’s fingerings and bowings.
The levels of difficulty of the
music for violin published by G. Henle Publishers
The levels of difficulty of the violin music published by G. Henle Publishers
|1||easy||Beethoven, 6 German Dances WoO 42
|2||Beethoven, Rondo G major WoO 41
|3||Mozart, Violin Sonata F major KV 547
|4||medium||Haydn, Violin Concerto A major Hob. VIIa:3
|5||Bach, Violin Concerto a minor BWV 1041
|6||Brahms, Violin Sonata G major op. 78
|7||difficult||Paganini, No. 9 from Capricci op. 1
|8||Beethoven, Violin Concerto D major op. 61
|9||Berg, Violin Concerto
I have assigned all of the violin music in G. Henle Publishers' catalogue a level of difficulty, ranging from "very easy" to "very difficult". The model for this was the evaluation system with nine levels developed for Henle's piano catalogue by Rolf Koenen. Unlike the works for solo piano, I have decided against evaluations that lie between two levels (e.g. 4/5 or 7/8).
This kind of attempt will always be "relative" to some degree. While the work remains the work, what is relative is the technical and musical ability of the player. Let us take a look at Mozart, for example, from the perspective of an Arthur Grumiaux and from that of a very young pupil. It is clear to whom my levels of difficulty are addressed: to the pupils or their teacher. I have, of course, always endeavoured to objectively assess the purely technical level of difficulty. But everything "between the lines" is, of course, left up to the judgement of each individual musician. Depending on our abilities, we perceive the "difficulty" of a work for violin differently, yet with the same conviction.
At the start, categorizing violin literature into levels of difficulty from 1 to 9 seemed to carry a certain risk as well as being unknown territory, yet I have now gained a deep insight into all of the works for violin in G. Henle Publishers' catalogue.
Ernst Schliephake © 2013