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”.
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According to Johannes Brahms’s autograph catalogue of works, the violin sonata in G major op. 78 was composed during the summer months of 1878 and 1879 at Pörtschach am Wörthersee, as a chamber music counter-point to the violin concerto op. 77. It owes its popular name of “Regenliedsonate” (“Rainsong sonata”) to its connection with the “Regenlieder” op. 59 nos … more
About the composer
His significant output comprises chamber music, piano works, numerous choral compositions and songs (including settings of folk-song lyrics), as well as large-scale orchestral works in the 1870s and 1880s. His compositions are characterized by the process of developing variation. He is considered an antithesis to the New German School around Liszt, and an advocate of “absolute” music.
|1833||Born in Hamburg on May 7, the son of a musician. His first piano instruction with Willibald Cossel at age seven, then with Eduard Marxen; first public performances from 1843.|
|1853||Concert tour through German cities; he meets Schumann, who announces him as the next great composer in his essay “Neue Bahnen” (“New Paths”). A lifelong, intimate friendship develops with Clara Schumann.|
|1854–57||Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15.|
|1857–59||Choir director, pianist, and teacher at the royal court in Detmold.|
|1859–61||Director of the Hamburg Women’s Choir.|
|1860||Manifesto against the New Germans around Liszt.|
|1863||Cantata “Rinaldo,” Op. 50.|
|1863–64||Director of the Wiener Singakademie.|
|1868||Partial performance in Vienna of “A German Requiem,” Op. 45 (the complete work premiered in Leipzig in 1869)|
|1871–74||Artistic director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of Friends of Music) in Vienna.|
|1873||Haydn Variations, Op. 56a, for orchestra.|
|from 1877||His symphonic output begins with the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (begun 1862); composition of the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73; the Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883); and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884–85): cantabile themes, chamber-music-like style.|
|from 1878||Travels in Italy.|
|1878||Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for Joseph Joachim.|
|1881||Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83, with a scherzo movement.|
|1886||Honorary president of Vienna’s Tonkünstlerverein (Association of Musicians).|
|1897||Four Serious Songs, Op. 121. Dies in Vienna on April 3.|
About the authors
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!
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.