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What are your favorite violin sonatas?

Repertoire: Which sonatas do you love?

From Madeline G
Posted May 2, 2008 at 05:47 AM

I'm sure this question has been covered in previous discussions, but I'll ask it anyway. :D

What is your favorite violin sonata, and why? :)

Violin sonatas are kind of the undervalued part of our repertoire. They're chamber music, not concertos, and I think this can be somewhat off-putting.

I've been listening to a lot of sonatas lately, and I really love the Debussy. I like all three Brahms sonatas, as well.

The Debussy has those wonderful open harmonies that he is known for, and it straddles the line between Romantic and modern music. :D

I'd love to hear about your favorite sonatas, so please feel free to share!

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 06:11 AM
Greetings,
I can`t choose one. I think the handel sonatas have become prgressively undervalued over the years as more and more young people are able to access them but fail to do them justice because they are just considered annoying milestones en route to Symphony Esopagnol (1st movement) and the Bruch. But Auer was right in saying that any violinst worth their salt should ahve two or three of thes ein their regular repertoire. Inetresitng that Milstein played the A majopr in his last recital. The D major is the biggie for me.
The Vienna period Mozart sonatas contain some incredibly complex and esoteric experiments that can be really shocking even to modern ears.Try the one that starts with load sof single note triplets- f major I think. Some very scary fugues.
The Schubert sonatinas are actually soantas and I consider them utterly wodnerful, especially the d major.
Of the Beetjoven no7 seems unjustly neglected to me and a complete masterpiece. very subtle.
Tartini`s -other- sonata (dido abandothingummyjig) is a gorgeous piec eas long a sone omits the crappy arrangement of another work that is often assumed to be the third movement and clean up the atrocious piano parts in the shoddy editions available.
The Schumann sonatas are real fun to play and then one of my favotite ones for just goign for broke is the Elgar. The second movement of this requires a huge range of delictae colors to make interesting. A very good challenge for anyone.
Franck and debussy will always be beloved of course.
Cheers,
Buri
From Madeline G
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 07:12 AM
Hello!

Yes, I played a few of the Handel sonatas (I can't remember which ones, though...maybe E Major?). :)

I haven't done any Mozart sonatas, so I'll definitely look into those.

I played the Schubert D Major Sonatina for a chamber performance this past summer! It's an adorable piece, and it's so short and cute. :D

I agree - it's hard to pick just one favorite sonata!

Thanks for responding!
Madeline

From Mendy Smith
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 08:01 AM
It's not a violin Sonata, but a viola one that I've been working on .... the Rebecca Clarke. A very interesting piece that I'm still trying to understand better.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 08:44 AM
I just got done practicing the Schubert D this evening. Love it, can't stop playing it.
From Eitan Silkoff
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 10:49 AM
ysaye and brahms
From Marina Fragoulis
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 12:28 PM
Vivaldi wrote wonderful sonatas.
From Friedrich Sprondel
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 12:25 PM
Brahms 1 will always be first. Then the six Bach sonatas (with Cembalo), then Franck, after that Brahms 3 and 2.

And I do have a soft spot for the Elgar. It should be played, and studied, more often.

Best,
Friedrich

From Friedrich Sprondel
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 12:30 PM
» It's not a violin Sonata, but a viola one that I've been working on .... the Rebecca Clarke. A very interesting piece that I'm still trying to understand better.

Oh yess!

That is a wonderful piece, and most rewarding for the listener. I didn't know it until last week, when I heard it in a viola recital by Julia Neher, the future solo violist of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. Great music, full of passion and wit.

Definitely deserves a "honoris causa" nomination here.

Best,
Friedrich

From Kenny Choy
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 02:38 PM
Strauss and Elgar.
From kimberlee d
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 03:31 PM
Ysaye
From Mitchell Pressman
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 03:04 PM
Walton, Bartok #1, Janacek, Prokofiev #1
From Carolyn Ohlbaum
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 03:46 PM
I love the Franck sonata!
From Nigel Keay
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 04:00 PM
Stravinsky's Duo Concertante and Ravel's Sonata count among my favourites...
From Tobias Seyb
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 06:28 PM
Brahms G-major and d-minor. But they are still out of reach for me, it´s a long term goal for me to play them.

Lately I discovered the Fauré Sonata in A major and immediately fell in love with it. It's very passionate and colorful, and it's not so difficult to play, so this is my next piece that I will study.

I love the sonate posthume by ravel too, it's a lesser known piece, but very beautiful. Sadly my sheet music (is this the correct expression?) has gotten lost (you should always make a note when giving sth. to so.)

From Christopher Burndrett
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 07:31 PM
Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, I like the Grieg Sonatas (particularly the infrequently performed G Major.)
From Julia S
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 07:52 PM
I love sonatas! I'm playing the Franck right now, which is one of my favorites. Other ones I love are the Prokofiev, Brahms, Janacek, Beethoven, Ysaye, and Saint-Saens. There are probably more I am not naming...
From Antonello Lofù
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 07:58 PM
Brahms #3 especially the transition from 1st movement and the second one.
From Madeline G
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:03 PM
I love the Ysaye Ballade - it's a little overplayed, but it's so exciting when it's played well! :D
From Hope Paolotto
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:04 PM
Brahms!!
From Jay Azneer
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:11 PM
Beethoven #10
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:22 PM
I second the Grieg Sonatas...on youtube someone uploaded a recording of Kreisler and Rachmaninov playing the third sonata...it's out of this world

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2h2gF6eALk

I cry most times I listen to it and I don't think anythign else affects me like that

From Jennifer Dunn
Posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:27 PM
I love LeClair's sonata in D major, Mozart's Sonata No. 10 (I think) in B flat, and one in D major (am not looking up numbers at the moment) Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, all of the Brahms, The Franck, Ravel, Debussy, Prokofiev in D major, Copeland...
Also love the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, particularly D minor and A minor. I'm missing a lot I am sure--I love the Sonata repertoire in general.
From Adam Clifford
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 04:47 AM
I love Bach's Third Partita. Although it is technically not a sonata, it is still gorgeous and allows plenty of room for self-expression!
From Jon O'Brien
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 05:03 AM
All the Beethoven are my favorite, especially G maj (No.3?), Spring, Kreutzer, and No.10 (not Downing St; the one with the famous 8 bar piano intro in the slow mvnt). Also Brahms of course.
From Phil Houghton
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 07:45 AM
Busoni No.2, Delius No.3, Howells No.2, Ives No.3, Milhaud No.2, as well as many already mentioned!
From carlos majlis
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 02:03 PM
As a rarities collector, I recommend violin
sonatas by:
Joseph Wieniawski
Medtner "epique"
Alf Hurum
Leo Weiner
Sinding
Sir Hubert Parry
Sergei Taneyev
Saint-Saëns first (Heifetz!!!)
Karen Khatchaturian op.1
There are dozens more,of course.
From Mike Harris
Posted on May 3, 2008 at 03:22 PM
Prrokofiev #2 (D), Debussy, Beethoven #7 (and others), Brahms #1, Bach unaccompanied Gmin, Dmin, E, Mozart G K.301, Schubert D.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 12:38 AM
Ah, I love the sonata repertoire! Here are some especial favorites:

Brahms (especially the G Major)
Elgar (!)
Prokofiev Solo Sonata
Debussy
Franck
Mozart K301 (G Major) and K304 (e minor)

From Bill Busen
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 03:22 AM
Saint-Saens First (last mvt!)
Kreutzer (variations mvt!)
Brahms G major (1st mvt!)

Two of those I used to play the piano part to...

From Ralph Becker-Szendy
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 04:23 AM
(note: I play the piano)
Brahms - all 3 of them
Franck
Beethoven - Kreutzer (although it is rare to find an amateur violinist who is up for it)

For warmup exercises: Beethoven Spring, or Dvorak Sonatina.

I've done Debussy and one of Grieg's (don't remember which one), and for some reason they don't titilate me.

It may sound sacrilegious: all other Beethoven Sonatas and all of Mozart is boring. Which doesn't mean that I don't end up playing them often: As duo partners that can handle the romantic repertoire are rare, I end up playing more of the classical stuff instead.

The absolute most fun I can have with a violinist (with the clothes on) is actually not a sonata: Ravel's Tzigane. There have only been two violinists I've played with who were willing to take that on.

In the department of piano duos (which is of great relevance to me, and probably totally irrelevant to violinists): The two Rachmaninoff Suites, and the Saint-Saens variations on a theme by Beethoven.

From George Philips
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 04:45 AM
In no particular order:

Ravel
Franck
Mozart K.304
Beethoven 4
Grieg 3
Handel D major
LeClair D major
Brahms A major (why don't more people enjoy this piece?)
Debussy
Schumann A minor
Saint-Saens #1

From Alan Wittert
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 04:58 AM
The Frank Sinatra.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 01:39 PM
Oh yes, I totally forgot the Ravel! Love that sonata. The Schubert "Arpeggione" is also lovely.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on May 4, 2008 at 05:13 PM
This one? :)

Neil

From Laurie Trlak
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 12:29 AM
I am currently learning the Handel D Major Sonata (after having learned the F Major), and I think these sonatas are wonderful in their complexity. I confess, the chords in some of them are a little scary (although they're not as tough as unaccompanied Bach, I guess), but I'm looking forward to learning all of them. I really love these pieces. Of course, I may change my mind once I have learned other sonatas! :-)
From Anne Horvath
Posted on May 5, 2008 at 12:38 AM
My favorite sonatas for violin AND piano, or piano AND violin, are currently:

Faure A Major
Brahms G Major
Schubert D 385
Beethoven # 8 and # 9
Mozart K 304
Bartok # 1 and # 2

List subject to change with future mood swings. I also agree about the Kreisler/Rachmaninoff recordings of the sonata literature. Divine stuff.

From Emily Vold
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 04:02 AM
My favorites would have to be the Franck, the Debussy, Grieg No. 1, and the Brahms G Major. OH, and the Bach sonatas, of course.
From Ronald Mutchnik
Posted on May 6, 2008 at 04:15 AM
In the realm of wonderful sonatas by British composers, I've enjoyed the Walton Sonata and Edmund Rubbra's Second Sonata, written as a gift to his violinist wife. As for American sonatas, Charles Ives No. 2 was also fun to learn with its barn dance fast movement and a wonderful hymn-like final movement.
A nice challenge with its perpetual motion final movement is Saint Saens First Sonata.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 07:20 AM
Just finished Mozart G K.301. Absolutely love it! I'm working on Schubert D right now and like Emily, I can't stop playing it either:)
From Mara Gerety
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 02:45 AM
I adore all of the Brahms, Bach and Ysaye sonatas, but I think my favorite is Janacek. There's something so marvelous about that piece I could listen to it every day for the rest of my life and on the day I die I would still be speechless with awe at Janacek's genius.
From Bart Meijer
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 05:03 AM
May that day be far off, Mara!
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 05:23 AM
The Dvorak Sonatina in G Major is also really charming.
From Jessie Vallejo
Posted on June 1, 2008 at 11:45 PM
Hmmm...I LOVE chamber music, concert pieces, and sonatas (quite a bit more than concertos, actually)!!!

Some of my favorites are:

Franck Sonata in A
William Bolcom's Stramba sonata (especially the 4th movement).
Prokofiev 5 melodies (maybe it's not exactly a sonata, but I absolutely love these pieces)

Copland Sonata
Bloch's Baal Shem

From Nancy Foreman
Posted on June 2, 2008 at 01:50 AM
He's not very popular these days, but I love Corelli.
From carlos majlis
Posted on June 2, 2008 at 12:46 PM
A really beautiful sonata nearly nobody
plays and very few know is Busoni's No.2.
Kavakos had a splendid recording.
From Dottie Case
Posted on June 2, 2008 at 05:59 PM
My 17 yr. old daughter and I (both players) were reading this list and she wants me to chime in and add the Brahms Sonatensatz (Scherzo, Op. Posth.). She is working on it now, and it's wicked cool. One part Beethoven and one part Debussy, in my opinion.
From Jessie Vallejo
Posted on June 4, 2008 at 02:39 AM
Dottie...

You said wicked cool.

I say wicked cool. I was made fun of by everyone at college from downstate BECAUSE I said wicked cool.

I think wicked is a great slang term to use in that way. :)

From Corey Washbourne
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 05:11 AM
My favourite: Mozart sonata for violin and piano in E minor. I couldn't possibly play it yet, that's a long way away for me ;p

I like the sonata I'm working on at the moment: Vivaldi sonata no. 5 in B minor from his Op. 2 Twelve Sonatas.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 04:46 PM
>I love the Ysaye Ballade - it's a little overplayed, but it's so exciting when it's played well!

Oh, I just love this too (as a listener only). I found a great CD of Chopin transcriptions, called something like Saint-Saens, Ysaye: Rare Transcriptions for Violin and Piano. It includes the Ballade and also a FABULOUS transcription of Chopin's Waltz in E. The most perfect melding of piano and violin music I've ever heard. (I'm a big fan of Chopin.)

And Anne H and Tobias - good call on the Fauré in A major - I've recently fallen in love with that as well. Just LOVE listening to that first movement. I like the Debussy and Saint-Saens sonata works as well; I pretty much like every French sonata recording I've ever heard. Oddly, for being such a big fan of Brahms, I haven't gone wild over his sonatas, although I do enjoy listening to them. I sense it's a matter of time and then one will finally speak to me and not let me go and I will be in love and forced to blog about its hold over me. (Piece that currently has this kind of hold over me that I listened to for a full year before falling smitten: Dvorak's Romance in F Minor. Sigh...)

From Hannah Wright
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 05:12 PM
wow, i have not heard of most of these...
time to youtube it!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 06:23 PM
All the sonatas picked out so far are great. In addition to those, I particularly love Bach's sonatas for violin and continuo. Mozart K.304 is also a favorite.
From Jay Azneer
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 07:34 PM
When I first answered I only mentioned the Beethoven 10 but I also love the Brahms Gmajor, the Faure A major, Ysaye Ballade--the greatest ending qua ending of anything I know. I'm also very fond of the Schubert Opus 137 Sonatas as well as the Prokofiev flute sonata opus 100?? which was rewritten for Oistrakh. NOt as extensive as some lists, but it's where my loves lie.
From carlos majlis
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 08:26 PM
I hope some of you have courage and
imagination to investigate works not in
the "repertory", as the sonatas of RVW,
Nielsen, Goldmark,Leo Weiner,Medtner,
Khatchaturian (Aram or Karen), Taneyev.
Joseph Wieniawsky and so many others.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on June 5, 2008 at 10:45 PM
Greetings,
give me a break Carlos. I play the Nielsen. But you need a fat piano player;)
Cheers,
Buri
From George Carrard
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 06:52 AM

Beethoven No10 Op96 is the best of all the Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin or for violin and piano.  All the others are strident, dramatic, No10 has everything - resignation and fantasy are missing from the others I think.

The three great French sonatas Faure, Franck No1, Saent Saens No1

Brahms Nos 1 and 3.

I'm looking for sonatas to play.  Thanks for the other postings. 

From Bart Meijer
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 07:13 AM

Does anyone know the Turina ("Spanish") sonata? How is it?

Edit: it's on Youtube.

From Lisa Fogler
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 08:19 AM

Being a simple violinist I like simplicity, especially that of The Spring Sonata :o)

From elise stanley
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 08:53 AM

what a wonderful topic - and wealth of info and suggestions.  I just looked up th schubert sonatina - the music is on IMSLP (just google, fastest way there as long as you include the composer, opus and 'sheet music') and it looks quite doable.  There is also a lovely recording on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uvonMUcROA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmtjXeoh_5E

I might do this as a study next week, doesn't look too hard..

From Marshall Read
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Brahms all the way but what about the Beethoven Sonatas for violin and piano.

My favourite one is 'Spring Sonata' No.5 it's in F major

From Marc Villeneuve
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 01:24 PM

Bach: all partitas and sonatas

Beethoven: 9-10

Brahms 1-3

Bartok solo violon sonata  They are the best ever written and masterpieces...... does not mean I do not like Fauré,Ravel and Debussy and Franck and so many others...

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 05:44 PM

Devil trill!!!

Also Frank, Brahms no 3, Leclair (very lively) also Kreutzer

Anne-Marie

From elise stanley
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 06:36 PM

Beethoven romance in G

(and best study for double stops I've found yet - they are so gorgeous you can't stop playing them)

[and am I the only person that doesn't really like the Spring sonata?  its pretty and I can play through the first movement at least pretty well but just don't find it engaging... whats wrong with me music doc?]

From Charles Yoh
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

I love the Poulenc Violin Sonata.  He dedicated it to Ginette Neveu, the French violinist who was tragically killed in a plane crash.  There is everything you would want in a violin sonata.  The melodies in the 1st and 2nd movements are soaring and beautiful.  I love the contrast between the opening melody and the second subject in the 1st movement.  In the second movement, the violin just floats over the piano and the sound is just ethereal.  The last movement simply put is tragic.  I have Midori's rendition on CD and I highly recommend it.

From Marc Villeneuve
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 11:18 PM

The original score is at the Boston library and you can see all the annotations of Ginette Neveu...  Poulenc changed the sonata after the tragic death of Neveu to make it sound like "Icare" who brokes his wings,according to the legend, and killed himself, refering toNeveu's abrupt ending...

From Janis Cortese
Posted on August 7, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Not violin, but Glinka's Viola+Piano in Dm is one of the most fantastic things I've ever heard.  If I can EVER play that, I'll be in heaven.

From Michael Pijoan
Posted on August 8, 2010 at 03:49 AM

 Ravel.  It's all about the seductive second movement dripping sugary sweetness and mischief.

From Ronald Mutchnik
Posted on August 8, 2010 at 03:58 AM

I'm not sure I'd characterize all the other Beethoven Sonatas, except no. 10, as "strident". The Spring Sonata does not seem strident to me. But anyway, my favorite French sonatas are Faure No. 1, Franck, and Debussy. Of the standard German/Austrian  repertoire, I like especially Mozart  Sonata in B-flat,K, 378, and the E-flat, Sonata, K.  481 and the great  Tempo di Menuetto from the E minor sonata, K. 304. Beethoven Sonatas 5,6, 9, & 10; and the 3 Brahms sonatas, and Schubert's Sonatina in D ( the duo) and the larger a major sonata and the Arpeggione sonata. I also think the Allegretto tranquillo movement of the second Grieg Sonata in particularly is quite beautiful and the 3rd Grieg Sonata in C minor. Of the Baroque repertoire, I especially like the first three Bach Sonatas- there's an amazing canon in the second one, and there will always be a place in my heart for the Larghetto of the D major sonata and the opening movement of the A major Sonata. As for twentieth century sonatas, there's Prokofiev # 2 ( the one also for flute and the William Walton Sonata and Edmund Rubbra's second sonata, a work deserving many more performances and hearings than it has had. )Well this list is getting long- there are so many wonderful sonatas- it's hard to narrow it down!

From elise stanley
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 09:10 AM

Wow Ronald, thats quite a list, perhaps you could put them in a blog and tell us what the attractions are of each? 

Each time I read a reply here I think I downloaded the score from IMLSP - to the point where my computer is in danger of overflowing :D

From Lena Sverkersson
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 09:49 AM

I think one must be very in love in order to play or appreciate Brahms A major sonata well, therefore few people like it as much as they like G major or D minor.

My top sonatas:

1. Brahms violin sonata in A major,

2. Brahms violin sonata D minor,

3. Beethoven' Kreutzer sonata,

4. Franck violin sonata in A major.

From Mike Harris
Posted on August 11, 2010 at 12:58 AM

 Okay, I know I replied to this thread previously, but it's been two years so I think it's okay.

I've got to put in another plug for the Prokofiev #2--it seems otherwise unnoticed here.  Listen to Kogan or Oistrakh play it if you get the chance.  It is an extraordinary piece of music and I think it is one of the greatest sonatas played on the violin (it was written originally for the flute).

 

From Hendrik Hak
Posted on August 11, 2010 at 03:38 AM

Zoltan Kodaly wrote a beautiful Adagio for viola and piano , which he himself also transcribed for violin or cello.  It is in CM ; available from editio musica budapest 1972

There is a Mendelsohn  violin/piano sonata, a later work, quite gorgeous.

From John Cadd
Posted on August 11, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Does anybody know much about the Reger Sonatas ? I knew the name but only heard any played this week.They sound very attractive .  I was expecting atonal noises. Not a lot on u tube for Reger.

From leo saputra
Posted on August 12, 2010 at 04:30 AM
for me, there are bethoven spring sonata & mozart violin sonata kv.301. both sound so warm and beautiful.thx.

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