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It was not until 1879 that Brahms completed his first violin sonata, which was then transcribed more than a century later for viola by the Hungarian violist Csaba Erdélyi.
In 1894 the outstanding clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld inspired Brahms to compose several works, including two sonatas, published with an eye to marketability for either clarinet or viola, whose autumnal nuances admirably suit the dark-toned stringed instrument.
In each, viola and piano enjoy the status of equal partners, reveling in Brahms’s subtle interplay of melody, rhythm and harmony.
Johannes Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78 (arr. C. Erdelyi for viola)
I. Vivace non troppo
III. Allegro molto moderato
Johannes Brahms: Viola Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120
I. Allegro appassionato
II. Andante un poco adagio
III. Allegretto grazioso
Johannes Brahms: Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120