About the album
Johannes Brahms’ Sonata no. 3 for piano, opus 5, bears impressive testament to the young composer’s formidable gift as a composer and pianist. “In its heroic scale, unconventional layout, and high quality of thought it was one of the most impressive sonatas since those of Beethoven and Schubert,” writes music critic Calum MacDonald, who further suggests that Brahms wrote his sonata as a response to Liszt’s B minor sonata, which Brahms had heard Liszt play in the summer of 1853. The sonata opus 5 was the last work for solo piano in the genre that Brahms would write.
The two Rhapsodies op. 79 were composed in 1879 when Brahms was in his mid-forties and at the peak of his career. These two compositions are the largest free-standing single-movement piano pieces Brahms had written since the Scherzo, op. 4. The Rhapsodies are dedicated to Elizabet von Herzogenberg, Brahms’ student and lover.
For the Ballad op. 10, no. 1, Brahms was inspired by the Scottish ballad Edward (which he later set for vocal duet in his opus 75).
11Zwei Rhapsodien, op. 79 Nr. 1. Agitato
12Zwei Rhapsodien, op. 79 Nr. 2. Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro
13Sonate nr. 3, op. 5 I. Allegro maestoso
14Sonate nr. 3, op. 5 II. Andante
15Sonate nr. 3, op. 5 III. Scherzo
16Sonate nr. 3, op. 5 IV. Intermezzo (Ru?ckblick)
17Sonate nr. 3, op. 5 V. Finale
18Ballade op. 10, nr. 1