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Work

Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms Composer

Cello Sonata No.1 in E-, Op.38

Performances: 54
Tracks: 150
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Musicology:
  • Cello Sonata No.1 in E-, Op.38
    Key: E-
    Year: 1862-65
    Genre: Chamber Sonata
    Pr. Instrument: Cello
    • 1.Allegro non troppo
    • 2.Allegretto quasi menuetto
    • 3.Allegro
Brahms' First Cello Sonata is a product of the same period (1862-1865) as the Piano Quintet, Op. 34, and is cut from much the same musical cloth—it is moody, powerful, and grandly structured. The opening movement (Allegro non troppo), with a long exposition repeat, takes up more than half the 25- to 30-minute playing time. Its long, elaborate opening theme establishes the nocturnal and introspective tone of the entire work. The second subject group expands the scope of the work by introducing a great, soaring theme in the minor between two calmer ones in the major. The development builds to a great climax in which it is the cello that accompanies the piano, reminding us that the work is titled Sonate für Klavier und Violoncello rather than the other way around. The coda somehow finds its way to a hard-won peace in the major. In this imposing movement, which obviates the need for a slow movement, might be found the origin of the great slow opening-movement structures of Mahler and Shostakovich. The second movement (Allegretto quasi Menuetto) is a wistful, melancholy minuet; its Trio is marked by the repeated halting and restarting of the music. The emotions that Brahms has held back up to now are unleashed in the closing Allegro, a powerful and passionate fugue that works its way into rondo form and closes, like the quintet, with a breathless coda.

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