Day 316: Violin Sonatas, Scherzo in C Minor

BrahmsCD10I’ve been listening to Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 1 and Violin Sonata No. 2 for the better part of the last hour and I not only couldn’t tell you which is which I couldn’t prove that I’d heard anything at all.

The music absolutely did not stick with me, except for a bit of for Movement I (“Allegro amabile”) of Violin Sonata No. 2.

The piano in that piece reminded me of Chopin or one of Beethoven’s wistful compositions. And the violin has some emotionally penetrating moments.

Still, a mere 10 minutes later, I couldn’t hum a few bars of it.

I think I know the perfect analogy: Brahms is like Chinese food. An hour later and I’m hungry again.

The musicians on today’s CD are:

Kristof Barati violin (tracks 1-10)
Karla Wurtz piano (tracks 1-10)

Tasmin Little violin (track 11)
John Lenehan piano (track 11)

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Op. 78

From its entry on Wikipedia:

The Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78, for violin and piano was composed by Johannes Brahms during the summers of 1878 and 1879 in Pörtschach am Wörthersee. It was first performed on 8 November 1879 in Bonn. Each of three movements of this sonata shares common motivic ideas or thematic materials from the head-motif of Brahms’s two songs “Regenlied” and “Nachklang”, Op. 59, and this is why this sonata is also called Rain Sonata (Regen-Sonate).

Brahms was 56 when he composed this music.

Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Op. 100

From its entry on Wiki:

The Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100 (“Thun” or “Meistersinger”) by Johannes Brahms was written while spending the summer of 1886 in Thun in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.

It was a very fertile and refreshing time for Brahms. His friend the Swiss pastor and poet Josef Victor Widmann (1842-1911) lived in Berne and they visited each other. He was also visited by the poet Klaus Groth and the young German contralto Hermine Spies. Both Groth and Brahms were somewhat enamoured of Spies. He found himself so invigorated by the genial atmosphere and surroundings that he said the area was “so full of melodies that one has to be careful not to step on any”. In a short space of time, he produced, in addition to this violin sonata, the Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99, the Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101, and various songs.

The 2nd Violin Sonata is the shortest and is considered the most lyrical of Brahms’s three violin sonatas. It is also considered the most difficult of the three to bring off successfully, and to exhibit its balance of lyricism and virtuosity. It maintains a radiant, happy mood throughout.

That’s the best description for what I’m hearing that I’ve yet read on Wiki.

Violin Concerto No. 2 is Continue reading