Schumann’s second violin sonata was written in October/November 1851, only a few weeks after the first work for this combination of instruments (HN 428). The highly virtuosic sonata, especially in the finale, is characterised by the close thematic dovetailing of the single movements. Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski, who later became the composer’s biographer, reported that “smiling in his kind-hearted manner” the composer had said to him: “I did not like the first violin sonata; so I then wrote a second one, which is hopefully better.” Schumann was apparently referring to the great differences in the expressive content: Whereas the first sonata with three movements seems rather melancholy and dark overall, the second “Great Sonata” with four movements is bursting with energy and ends in vibrant D major.
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The two Violin Sonatas op. 105 in a minor and op. 121 in d minor by Robert Schumann (1810–56) were composed in close proximity in mid-September and the end of October/beginning of November 1851 in Düsseldorf. Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski, leader of the Düsseldorf Orchestra at that time and later Schumann’s biographer, reports that “a few weeks after composing the a … more
About the composer
Connected with his oeuvre is the term he coined, Poetic Music, with which he strove for a fusion of literature and music, a paradigm particularly seen in his lyric piano pieces prior to 1839. Thereafter he devoted himself to other genres (song, symphony, chamber music, among others).
|1810||Born in Zwickau on June 8, the son of a bookdealer.|
|from 1828||Studies law in Leipzig, piano with Friedrich Wieck. Decision to pursue a career in music.|
|1830–39||He exclusively composes piano works, mostly cycles, including “Papillons,” Op. 2 (1829–32); “Carnaval,” Op 9 (1834/35); “Davidsbündlertänze,” Op. 6 (1837); “Kinderszenen” (“Scenes from Childhood”), Op. 15 (1837/38); “Kreisleriana,” Op. 16 (1838); “Noveletten,” Op. 21 (1838).|
|1832||A paralysis of a finger in his right hand makes a career as a pianist impossible. Founding in 1833 of the fantasy brotherhood the “Davidsbund” (“League of David”).|
|1835–44||Editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal of Music).|
|1840||Marriage to Clara Wieck; 138 songs, including the Eichendorff Liederkreis, Op. 39; the song cycle “Dichterliebe,” Op. 48|
|1841||Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major (“Spring” Symphony), Op. 38, and Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120.|
|1842||Three string quartets, Op. 41; further chamber music.|
|1843||Teacher of composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Oratorio “Paradise and the Peri,” Op. 50.|
|1845||He settles in Dresden. Journey to Russia.|
|1845||Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54, Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61.|
|1850||City music director in Düsseldorf. Premiere in Leipzig of his opera “Genoveva,” Op. 81. Symphony in E-flat major (“Rhenish”), Op. 97; Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129.|
|1853||Beginning of his friendship with Brahms. Completion of the Scenes from Faust. Violin Concerto in D minor for Joseph Joachim.|
|1854||Suicide attempt and admission to the psychiatric institution in Endenich, near Bonn.|
|1856||Death in Endenich on July 29.|
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