Violin sonata no.2

Sonata no.2 op.100 in A major

In the 'chamber music summer' of 1886, Brahms was spending time in Thun (Switzerland) where he composed three of his major and favourite chamber works, the Second Cello Sonata op. 99, Second Violin Sonata op. 100, and Piano Trio in C minor op. 101. All these three compositions have some similarities and influences on each other all the final movements are unusually short. In the same summer, Brahms composed 3 poem-songs op. 105, which he dedicated to his dear friend Hermine Sipes, had a big influence on the sonata.

We can see this Sonata as an improvisation on pre-existing motifs.

The first movement is Allegro Amabile (pleasant). In the second melody of this movement, Brahms uses the developed version of his op 105. No 1 song "Wie Melodien zieht es mir". In this song, the poet Klaus Groth is talking about melodies growing like flowers within his imagination and wafting away like scent: This poem explains the unusual "Amabile" indication of the composer. Brahms gives the first melody to the piano, in a four-bar phrase, and adds the violin in the fifth-bar giving an echo effect, which gives the theme of the piece extra roundness and lyricism.

The second movement is a combination of Andante tranquillo in F major, and Vivace scherzo in D minor. The Composer shares piano and violin part equally. It is a pure conversation between the instruments, which take the main theme from each other, develop and brings to the logical end of the melody. Andante tranquillo has a very laidback theme, very calm and has a tiny touch of Baroque formality. This theme is getting developed every time after the Vivace part is interfering.

Brahms liked to use a lot of folklore in his compositions, especially when he composed scherzos or fast movements in general. The scherzo (Vivace) part of this movement is not an exception, and the listener can recognize a Slavonic dance, due to the ¾ rhythm and syncopation.

Third movement: Even though Brahms writes Allegretto grazioso as a tempo marking, he also indicates quasi Andante to make sure that the impulse of the movement should be reasonably relaxed and calm. This A major movement is a graciously and melodically sounding Rondo which theme is played only by the violin on G string. The complete theme of the Rondo comes back three times where the piano takes over the violin's melody and gives a beautiful answer. Second time after the theme of the violin, in a piano the harmonies change diminished seventh arpeggios, which brings a dark and mysterious colour. The coda presents a very optimistic and bright mood. It is full of double-stops for violin.

First time this sonata was performed on the 2nd December 1886 in Wiener Musikverein, by the violinist Joseph Hellmesberger Sr. and Brahms himself at the piano.