Brahms’s First Violin Sonata in G major is also known by the sobriquet “Regenliedsonate” (Rain Sonata) because its final movement quotes melodic motifs from his two songs “Regenlied” and “Nachklang” (which likewise has rain as its subject). The dotted opening motif of the finale already pervades the first two movements, thereby contributing to the inner cohesion of this wonderfully expressive, elegiac work. Brahms’s contemporaries enthusiastically received this sonata, which was completed in 1879. Elisabeth von Herzogenberg, a close friend of the composer, found that one has to “love it like little else in the world”.
The musical text of this revised Urtext edition is based on that of the newly completed volume of the New Brahms Complete Edition, which guarantees the highest degree of scholarly precision.
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According to Johannes Brahms’s (1833–97) own information, the composition of the Violin Sonata no. 1 in G major op. 78 extended over the two “summers of 78 & 79” spent at Pörtschach am Wörthersee (as cited in Alfred Orel, Ein eigenhändiges Werkverzeichnis von Johannes Brahms. Ein wichtiger Beitrag zur Brahmsforschung, in: Die Musik, May 1937, p. 541). In the middle … 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.|