Hyperion Records

Viola Sonata in E flat major, Op 120 No 2
Summer 1894; first performed by Richard Mühlfeld and Brahms in Berchtesgaden, Meiningen, on 19 September 1894; also for clarinet and piano

'Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music' (CDS44331/42)
Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music
Buy by post £40.00 CDS44331/42  12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Brahms: Viola Sonatas' (CDA67584)
Brahms: Viola Sonatas
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67584 
Movement 1: Allegro amabile
Track 9 on CDA67584 [8'12]
Track 9 on CDS44331/42 CD12 [8'12] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Allegro appassionato
Track 10 on CDA67584 [4'57]
Track 10 on CDS44331/42 CD12 [4'57] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Andante con moto – Allegro non troppo
Track 11 on CDA67584 [6'35]
Track 11 on CDS44331/42 CD12 [6'35] 12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Viola Sonata in E flat major, Op 120 No 2
The Sonata in E flat major, Op 120 No 2 is more mellow and intimate in overall effect: any heroic passions are concentrated in the central scherzo. The Allegro amabile with which it begins—the very tempo direction is paradoxical—proves to be the most unassuming of Brahms’s sonata structures, yet one of the subtlest. Its musing, song-like character and explorations of colour and key conceal continuous, logical development and interrelation of themes, and its ending is gentle, marked dolce, tranquillo. In complete contrast, the second movement is a large and unexpectedly powerful scherzo in E flat minor. This Allegro appassionato is Brahms’s last scherzo, in the same key as his first (for piano, Op 4, composed forty-four years earlier) and it has something of the character of a heroic waltz. The function of the trio is assumed by a broad sostenuto melody, whose trend to asymmetric proportions—it has a rather Hungarian character—is echoed in the broad, glowing, fourteen-bar theme of the finale, Andante con moto. The classical poise, solidity of rhythm and opulent harmony of this tune offer enormous potential for the five variations to which Brahms subjects it. In fact these variations are comparatively simple and lyrical, paring the theme down to its smallest note-values and exploring its possibilities in modest contrapuntal textures of almost Mozartian clarity. The music rises to virtuosity only in the brief valedictory display of the closing pages.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2007

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44331/42 disc 12 track 10
Allegro appassionato
Recording date
30 May 2006
Recording venue
Wathen Hall, St Paul's School, Barnes, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Brahms: Viola Sonatas (CDA67584)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: March 2007
  2. Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music (CDS44331/42)
    Disc 12 Track 10
    Release date: October 2008
    12CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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