Theme and Variations

Thoughts and experiences of exploring classical, jazz, and other art music.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brahms' Sonatas for Viola and Piano

Starting with this CD, I've decided to keep a listener's record, to remind me of my thoughts at the time of listening. (I've also ordered a more detailed notebook, which I'll use once the cahier journals run out.) I put my jazz thoughts on the left side, and the classical thoughts on the right side.

The CD on which I've worked is the second of a two CD set which features Pinchas Zukerman (playing the violin and viola) and Daniel Barenboim (on piano).

The viola with piano sonatas are numbered 1 and 2 of opus 120, late in the composer's career. The first is in F minor. The opening movement of the first sonata is a combination of loud drama and beautiful lyricism. The second movement is very sweet, annotated "Andante un poco adagio." Movement 3 is full of happy-go-lucky music, almost dancelike. The final fourth movement is fast and lively. There is so much sound of full music that I had to remind myself that I was listening to only two instruments.

Sonata No. 2 opens lyrically; a pretty first movement. The second movement opens with a fast tempo, followed by a slower, wonderful theme.

It was at this point in my note-taking that I realized I can't break down the two works. Every time I listen I hear something that I missed before. At this rate, I could go through multiple notebooks and still not tire of hearing the music. I only wish there were more than two of them.

As an introduction, here is the first movement of sonata No. 2.