Brahms, Johannes
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major op. 78
Edition no.
Volume / Series
Brown, Clive / Costa, Neal Peres Da
Instrumentation of the work
Violin, Piano
Language(s) of text
English, German
Product format
Performance score, Part, Urtext edition
Violin, Piano
Pages / Format
XLIV, 36/10/10 S. - 31,0 x 24,3 cm
Johannes Brahms:
The Works for one Instrument and Piano

Johannes Brahms’ compositions for one instrument and piano have been standards in chamber music literature ever since their inception. These works were written with specific performers in mind and Brahms worked closely with them when refining the final texts. Nevertheless, we rarely approach the music taking into consideration the possibilities of the instruments for which Brahms wrote or the performing practices of the individual players who first performed these compositions, including Brahms himself.

The New Urtext Editions

Bärenreiter’s pioneering new scholarly-critical editions of Brahms’ works for one instrument and piano are edited by a team of musicologists who are also performers. They offer today’s musicians not just a reliable musical text based on all known sources, but also a comprehensive approach to the works, which aims to place them in their historical context and to elucidate the complex of meanings that the composer wished his notation to convey to performers.

In addition to the musical text these editions offer an informative Introduction laying out the genesis, publication history and reception of the works. At the same time there is a complete list of the sources, an explanation of the editorial procedures and a Critical Commentary. Also, each volume contains a detailed discussion of specific performing practice issues raised by individual works.

An integral part of Bärenreiter’s Brahms publication complex is a text booklet which approaches general performance practice issues of the 19th century with regard to e.g. tempo, rubato, rhythmic flexibility and articulation. Furthermore musicians will find valuable information concerning vibrato, portamento and bowing. Last but not least characteristics of Brahms’ own piano playing as well as that of his circle and contemporaries are discussed.

The violin and viola sonata editions come not only with an Urtext part freed from all editorial emendations, but also with an additional part including fingering and bowing based on the practices of Joseph Joachim and his colleagues. These markings especially draw on publications of the sonatas edited by Joachim’s pupils Leopold Auer and Ossip Schnirlin as well as those by Brahms’ associate Franz Kneisel. A similar approach has been used for the violoncello sonatas, drawing on performance markings by Robert Hausmann (for whom Brahms wrote the Sonata in F major), Hugo Becker, with whom Brahms performed it, and Julius Klengel who was also close to his circle.

Bärenreiter’s new Brahms complex also importantly brings two neglected works back into the player’s hands, namely the splendid versions of the op. 120 sonatas, originally written for viola or clarinet and piano. Brahms’ arrangements for violin and piano unaccountably disappeared from the standard repertoire early in the 20th century. In these versions Brahms did not simply adjust the solo part for the violin, he made many alterations to the piano part, casting thought-provoking light on the clarinet and viola versions.

• A pioneering set of Urtext editions

• String editions include an Urtext solo part and a second part with fingering as well as performance markings

• Each edition offers a preface on performance practice aspects pertaining to the respective works

• A separate text booklet includes pioneering texts on general issues of performance practice in the 19th century as well as on specific issues with regard to Johannes Brahms’ chamber music
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Press reviews
“With the publication of these editions, Bärenreiter has undoubtedly offered a wealth of new insights and interpretive possibilities to performers, particularly to those devoted to high textual standards and a nuanced, historical approach to Brahms’s works for violin and piano, based on sources contemporary with the composer. All five of these volumes share one goal: allowing today’s performers an approximation of the style and aesthetic practiced by the musicians in Brahms’s circle. The entire set of scores is supported by a supplemental volume, Performance Practices in Johannes Brahms’ Chamber Music. Together these publications form a challenging and helpful resource. … Where possible, Brown draws sensible conclusions, derived from extensive research in numerous primary sources, but where necessary, he presents conflicting evidence so that the final choices and interpretive decisions remain with the performer who is thus more than well equipped to make informed decisions.”
(Katharina Uhde, Nineteenth-Century Music Review May 2019
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