Brahms early on engaged with the violin sonata genre. As early as 1853 he wrote a sonata in a minor, which - like so many other youthful works of this self-critical composer - no longer survives. Thus the G-major sonata op. 78, written in 1878/79, is now counted as his first contribution to the genre; it has the nickname “Regenlied Sonata” (literally “rain-song sonata”) because of the quotation from a song that appears in the finale. In summer 1886 Brahms composed, almost simultaneously, the two sonatas op. 100 and 108. All three works now have a firm place in the violinistic canon.
We round off our volume with the Scherzo in c minor that Brahms contributed to the so-called “F.A.E Sonata”, which he composed together with Robert Schumann and Albert Dietrich as a gift for violinist Joseph Joachim in 1853. With its stark contrast between the turbulent allegro and the emotional più moderato part, his scherzo has become a popular bravura and encore piece.
The present new edition is based on the New Brahms Complete Edition, and offers a musical text and commentary that have been revised according to the latest research. The fingering is by respective masters of their instruments Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen.
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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.|