The Violin Sonata No 2 in G major, Op 13, was written in the three weeks of Grieg‘s honeymoon—small wonder it is such a happy piece. The Norwegian folk manner was now a natural part of his vocabulary, and the Second Violin Sonata is impregnated with its contours. Both outer movements contain elements of the springar—though the first is introduced by a gloomy Lento doloroso in G minor, setting the scene, as in the First Sonata, for the buoyant G major tune, Allegro vivace, which follows. The secondary theme—with the ‘Grieg motif’ prominent—offers a harmonic contrast (it is in the upper mediant, B minor) but is built on the same thematic material; the third tune is in the dominant, D major. After the generous exposition, Grieg keeps the development short, varies the material in the recapitulation, announces the coda in the grand manner and signs off with a confident flourish. The slow movement of the Second Sonata is likewise in ABA form, the E minor outer sections (constructed from the dotted four-note shape in the first bar) surrounding the E major middle panel (also generated from that same shape). The finale maintains the formal evolution of the first movement: it is an individual amalgam of sonata-form and rondo, once again contrasting the rhythmic–melodic motivic interrelationships of the melodic material with more dramatic harmonic shifts.
The Second Violin Sonata was dedicated to Johan Svendsen, Grieg’s comrade-in-art, although it was premiered by Gudbrand Böhn, with the composer at the piano, in the autumn of 1867.
from notes by Martin Anderson © 2006