Classical Music | Piano Music

Edvard Grieg

Sonata for Violin and Piano op.45, mvt. 3  Play

Nikolai Choubine Piano
Maria Storm Violin

Recorded on 04/10/2012, uploaded on 04/10/2012

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Edvard Grieg is primarily known as a composer of miniatures. With the exception of a modest number of large-scale works, these smaller forms dominated his oeuvre. Yet, this was not the result of any lack of skill, but apparently only of personal choice. Some of these larger works, like the Piano Concerto in A minor and the Violin Sonata No. 3 are concert favorites. Others, however, are but little known, existing in the shadows of their more famous brethren. One such obscure work is the Grieg’s only Piano Sonata. Composed in 1865, when the composer was only twenty-two years of age, it is a rather youthful work. Yet, despite its youthfulness, it does display Grieg’s ability to handle the larger concert forms. It was published the year after its composition as his opus 7, and Grieg later revised the sonata in 1887.

The first movement opens with a dramatic theme in E minor, which descends through the tones of the tonic triad. A gentler second subject in the relative major later appears, but quickly gives way to a turbulent development section. Curiously, Grieg adopts a compound meter as the development section begins, and maintains it through the reprise of the first theme during the movement’s recapitulation. The following Andante molto begins serenely with a lyrical theme in C major, but erupts with passionate energy during its middle portion. Returning to the tonic key of E minor, the Alla menuetto third movement begins with an ominous theme that seems far too weighty for the dance which it purports to imitate. In contrast, however, the E major trio section is more befitting of the grace expected of the minuet. Lastly, the finale begins with a galloping theme in compound meter, which is later offset by a chorale-like second subject in C major. This latter theme, during the movement’s recapitulation, affects the long-awaited transition to the key of the tonic major in which the sonata comes to a vigorous close.     Joseph DuBose