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Brahms - Cello Sonata N1, op. 38 e-moll

Brahms - Sonata N1 for cello and piano op.38 e-moll. You can download the PDF sheet music Brahms - Cello sonata op.38 on this page.

The Cello Sonata No. 1 dates from 1865. Each of the three movements is in the minor and the work as a whole is pervaded by a gloomy atmosphere, a feature that has been ascribed to the distress (hat Brahms felt as a result of the death of his beloved mother at the start of that year. But Brahms in fact began work on this sonata around 1862, when he moved from Hamburg to Vienna, meaning that the feelings induced by his mother's death could only have played a partial role in the work's conception. He was originally intending to compose a work in four movements including an Adagio, but he eventually decided against this on the advice of his friend, the cellist Josef Gasbacher, and the work thus took the form in which we have it today.

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PDF format sheet music

Cello part: 9 pages. 688 K


Piano part: 23 pages. 2375 K


Instrument part - First page Piano part - First page
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Video : Brahms - Sonata N1 for cello and piano op.38
The first movement, Allegro non troppo, is a dense movement lasting more than ten minutes. The music moves forward focusing on the first subject, with its low murmuring quality, and the canonical second subject. The cello plays throughout in the lowest register as evident, for example, at the very beginning, where it enters an octave lower than the piano. This creates a strange acoustic effect whereby the cello seems to be sounding from within the piano.

The second movement, Allegretto quasi Menuetto, presents an intermezzo whose tempo gives the music a wholly different quality from what has preceded it. In contrast to the opening movement, the cello plays principally in the upper register, The movement consists of a main section characterised by dance rhythms with extensive use of staccato and a melancholy Trio with an eastern European lilt.

The third movement, Allegro, is a fugue. Although conventionally conceived, it in no way conveys an oppressive impression. The similarity between the fugal subjectand the subject of Contrapunctus No. 13 from Bach's The Art of Fugue has often been pointed out. An episode in the relative major appears in the middle section, to be followed by the unmodified reappearance of the opening section of the movement towards the end. This generates a sense of stability in the manner of sonata form.
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