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Reger - Cello Sonata N1 f-moll op.5

Reger - Sonata N1 for cello and piano. You can download the sheet music Reger - Sonata N1 for cello and piano on this page.

Cello Sonata No 1 in F minor Op 5, composed in 1892. This is generally reckoned to be the first work in which Reger began to display definite individuality in his musical idiom. In January 1893 the work had yet to be publicly performed: the premiere took place in October, given by the dedicatee, Oskar Bruckner, with Reger at the piano. The Sonata did not find favour with local critics, and a repeat performance in an all-Reger concert at the Berlin Singakademie the following February was no better received. In later years Reger thought to disown the work, but it has clung on to the fringes of the repertoire and is now generally considered a fascinating early display of mastery.

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PDF format sheet music

Cello part: 10 pages. 639 K


Piano part: 33 pages. 2524 K


Instrument part - First page Piano part - First page
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The Sonata has three movements, the first of them a heroic, wide-ranging Allegro maestoso ma appassionato. From the outset it is clear that Brahms was the young Reger's musical hero, as both the impassioned cello line and its very full piano counterpart present a host of Brahmsian characteristics in rhythm, harmony and figuration. The cello typically soars and sinks through its full gamut while the piano keeps up a turbulent background. But the second subject, with its sighing, falling third, proves to be a heart-easing melody of great lyrical appeal. There is a full recapitulation, which simultaneously continues the process of development, while the biggest climax is reserved for the coda, though the final bars strike a tone of lyrical nostalgia, even exhaustion.

The central Adagio con gran affetto, in D flat major, begins almost like an operatic scena, with brooding piano chords and a recitative-like cello line. It reaches heights of eloquence without committing itself to a definite melodic shape. A descending triplet figure that featured in the opening span is drawn upon for melodic and accompani-mental figuration as the movement rises to a lyrical climax and then evanesces into autumnal shadow.

The last movement is marked Allegro but the ambling character of its opening tune shows Reger had paid close attention to the finale of Brahms's Op 99 Cello Sonata (in the same key). However the contrasting material has a definite 'scherzo' aspect to it, both lively and playful. Also Brahmsian are the pizzicati in the cello as the scherzanilo music combines with the broader finale theme. The movement progresses in steadily more strenuous (but also good-humoured) vein. Just before the coda there is a moment of quiet reflection that brings home how the opening phrase of the finale theme echoes that of the first movement's first subject, before the tumultuous closing bars. In the final cadence the piano alludes to the dotted figure with which the sonata had begun.

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