G大調第一小提琴奏鳴曲 Sonata for Piano and Violin in G Major Op. 78 (1879) (Rain Sonata)
- 活潑但不過分 Vivace ma non troppo (G major)
- 慢板 – 彪行板 – 慢板 Adagio – piu Andante – Adagio (E♭ major)
- 快板中庸 Allegro molto moderato (G minor – G major)
布拉姆斯 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Also known as the Rain Sonata, this sonata uses the theme and motivic material from Brahms’ Op. 59 No. 3 “Regenlied” (Rain Song) and No. 4 “Nachklang” (Echo) throughout. What’s special about this piece is the deep personal stories associated with the composer. As is widely known, Brahms was an ardent admirer of Clara Schumann, and while working on the 2nd movement, Felix Schumann, Clara’s son and Brahms’ godson, was terminally ill from tuberculosis. In a letter to Clara Schumann containing the opening 24 measures of the Adagio:
“Dear Clara, [this music] will say to you … how affectionately I think of you and Felix… I am so eager to hear from Felix… or does Felix not allow further thought about this?”
The funeral-march-like middle section (piu Andante) of the 2nd movement, which immediately succeeds the 24 measures he sent to Clara Schumann, was likely Brahms’ way of grieving over Felix Schumann, who would die only days after Brahms sent out his letter. The final movement, the main theme of which is copied directly from Regenlied, was not finished until summer of 1879, and the opening lines from the Regenlied, “Awaken again in me those dreams, That I dreamt in childhood” strongly suggest Brahms’ mourning of Felix’s death.
The entire sonata uses the dotted motif from Regenlied. There is a subdued sadness in much of the music due to his godson’s passing away. The 1st movement, casted in G major, is relatively cheerful, with the occasion bout of youthful agitation. The 2nd movement, as mentioned earlier, is heavily influenced by Felix’s death, with the middle section being a funeral march of sorts. The 3rd movement starts out in a minor key, but finishes in major—fitting for the hopeful closing line in Regenlied: “When the sun again shines, the grass will be twice as green”. Clara Schumann, clearly perceptive of what her dear friend Brahms had conceived, wrote in response to the 3rd movement: “I cannot believe that anyone could find this melody so delightful and full of melancholy as I”.
© 2016 Macau Classical Music Society