Schubert's compositions for violin and piano
From March 1816 to August 1817, Franz Schubert composed four violin sonatas. All four were published after the composer's death: the first three, D 384, 385 and 408, as Sonatinas in 1836 (Op. posth. 137), and the last one, D 574, as Duo in 1851 (Op. posth. 162). Schubert composed two more pieces for violin and piano, in October 1826 and December 1827 respectively: a Rondo, D 895, which was published during the composer's lifetime (Op. 70), and a Fantasy, D 934, which was premiered in January 1828, less than a year before the composer's death.
Musical scholars have noted that the 1816–1817 sonatas breathe an intimate atmosphere, requiring no virtuoso bravura from their performers. However, the 1826–1827 pieces, composed for the Bohemian violinist Josef Slavík, have been characterized as more demanding, also for the pianist, and have a more extroverted character.
Schubert was an accomplished violinist and had already extensively composed for violin, including over a dozen string quartets, by the time he started to write violin sonatas at age 19.
Sonatinas Op. 137
The compositions for violin and piano D 384, 385 and 408 were named Sonata in Schubert's autographs. They were named Sonatina when published posthumously as Op. 137 in 1836. Since these works are modest in size—rather to be compared to Mozart's violin sonatas than to Beethoven's—the "Sonatina" diminutive stuck to them.
No. 1 in D major, D 384
Schubert wrote "März 1816" (March 1816) on the autograph score of his Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major (D 384). The sonata has three movements:
- Allegro molto
- Allegro vivace
No. 2 in A minor, D 385
Titled "Sonata II" and dated March 1816 in the autograph, the Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor (D 385) has four movements:
- Allegro moderato
- Menuetto: Allegro
No. 3 in G minor, D 408
Schubert dated the Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor (D 408) April 1816 in the autograph, and titled it "Sonata III". The sonata has four movements:
- Allegro giusto
- Allegro moderato
Duo in A major, D 574
There is no extant autograph of the Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D 574, but there is an early manuscript copy titling the work as Sonate, and indicating its time of composition as August 1817. It was named Duo when published as Op. 162 in 1851. It has four movements:
- Allegro moderato
- Scherzo: Presto
- Allegro vivace
Rondo (1826) and Fantasy (1827)
Both the Rondo in B minor, D 895, and the Fantasy in C major, D 934, were apparently composed for the Czech violist Josef Slavík and the pianist Carl Maria von Bocklet: they performed these works before Schubert's death in November 1828.
Rondeau brillant, D 895
In his autograph, dated October 1826, Schubert indicated D 895 as "Rondo". It was published in April 1827 by Artaria as the composer's Op. 70, titled Rondeau brillant. The composition is in B minor and has two sections: an introductory Andante followed by an Allegro in sonata rondo form.
Fantasy in C major, D 934
For the Fantasy in C major, D 934, which was composed in December 1827, the name given by Schubert, Fantaisie, corresponds with that of its first publication in 1850 as Op. 159. The work is in one movement with several sections:
- Andante molto
- This section consists of four variations on a variant of the tune of Schubert's lied "Sei mir gegrüßt", D 741.
- Allegro vivace
The Rondo in B minor, D 895, was performed by Josef Slavík and Carl Maria von Bocklet at music publisher Domenico Artaria's, in Schubert's presence, probably early 1827. At the time, the work was well-received. According to a note written by Joseph Joachim in October 1857, he had performed this work with Marie Wieck. Documented 19th-century public performances include:
- 20 January 1828: Fantasy, D 934, premiered by Josef Slavík and Carl Maria von Bocklet in the Landhaussaal in Vienna. A contemporary critic was dismissive about the work for its length.
- 21 October 1862 and 2 December 1867: Rondo Brillant, Op. 70, in the Gewandhaus (Leipzig). With the piano part orchestrated by Ferdinand David, this piece was performed in the same venue on New Year's day 1872.
- 7 February 1864: Fantasie, Op. 159, in the Gewandhaus (Leipzig).
- 3 March 1864: first public performance of Duo, Op. 162, in the Musikverein (Vienna).
The publication of Schubert's works for violin and piano had started in 1827 and was completed quarter of a century later. The pieces were recorded in the 20th and 21st century.
The 19th-century collected edition published Schubert's compositions for piano and one other instrument in its eighth series in 1886, edited by Ignaz Brüll. The first six pieces in that volume were Schubert's compositions for violin and piano, all of which had been published before:
- 1827, published by Artaria & Co.: Rondeau Brillant, Op. 70 (D 895)
- 1836, published by Diabelli & Co.: Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine, Op. posth. 137 (D 384, 385 and 408)
- 1850, published by Diabelli & Co.: Fantasie, Op. posth. 159 (D 934)
- 1851, published by Diabelli & Co.: Duo (en La) pour Piano et Violon, Op. posth. 162 (D 574)
Series VI, Volume 8 of the New Schubert Edition, published in 1970, contained the same works as series VIII of the 19th-century collected edition, but presented them in chronological order of composition.
Recordings grouping all six of Schubert's compositions for violin and piano:
- 1955: Schubert: Complete Works for Violin & Piano. Johanna Martzy (violin) and Jean Antonietti (piano). Testament SBT2 1468 (2 CD box).
- 1964: Schubert: Complete Music for Violin and Piano. György Pauk (violin) and Peter Frankl (piano). Brilliant Classics 95115 (2 CD box).
- 1984: Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Gérard Poulet (violin) and Noël Lee (piano). Arion ARN 268006 (2 CD box).
- 1988: Schubert: 3 Sonatinas, Op. posth. 137; Duo, Op. 162; Rondo, Op. 70; Fantaisie, Op. posth. 159. Isaac Stern (violin) and Daniel Barenboim (piano). Sony Classical S2K 44504 (2 CD box). Re-issued in Daniel Barenboim: A Retrospective (Sony Classical 889853936328, box with 43 CDs and 3 DVDs).
- 1988–1989: Schubert: Die Kammermusik für Violine. Edith Peinemann (violin) and Leonard Hokanson (piano). Bayer BR 100067 CD (2 CD box).
- 1989: Schubert: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Jaime Laredo (violin) and Stephanie Brown (piano). Brilliant Classics 92275 (2 CD box).
- 1990–1991: Schubert: Violin Works. Gidon Kremer (violin), Oleg Maisenberg (piano: Op. 137; 1991) and Valery Afanassiev (piano: D 574, 895 and 934; 1990). Deutsche Grammophon 0289 469 8372 0 (in 4 CD box).
- 2009: Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Julia Fischer (violin) and Martin Helmchen (piano). Pentatone.
- 2012: Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Alina Ibragimova (violin) and Cédric Tiberghien (piano). Hyperion CDA67911/2 (2 CD box).
- 2014: Schubert: Chamber Works. Tasmin Little (violin) and Piers Lane (piano). Chandos CHAN 10850(2) (2 CD box).
- Printed Music: chamber music - duets (without sonatas) at www
- Dennis D. Rooney. Liner notes to Schubert: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Brilliant Classics No. 92275 (EAN 5028421922751), 2004.
- Richard Wigmore. Liner notes to Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano. Hyperion CDA67911/2, 2013. EAN 034571179117
- Harry Halbreich. Liner notes to CD 6–7, pp. 3–5 in Schubert Edition: Liner notes, sung texts, full tracklist. Brilliant Classics No. 94870 (EAN 5028421948706), 2014
- Deutsch 1978, pp. 232–233.
- Deutsch 1978, p. 244.
- Printed Music: D 384 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,1), D 385 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,2) and D 408 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,3) at www
- Sonatinas, violin, piano, D. 384, D major at Juilliard School website (Facsimile of autograph score, RISM No. 900004981)
- Deutsch 1978, pp. 332–333.
- Deutsch 1978, pp. 563–564.
- Deutsch 1978, p. 597.
- Autograph Scores: D 934 Fantasie in C (op. post. 159) at www
- Printed Music: D 934 Fantasie (op. post. 159) at www
- RISM No. 201010172
- Alfred Dörffel. "Statistik der Concerte im Saale des Gewandhauses zu Leipzig" p. 64, in Geschichte der Gewandhausconcerte zu Leipzig vom 25. November 1781 bis 25. November 1881: Im Auftrage der Concert-Direction verfasst. Leipzig, 1884.
- Ignaz Brüll (editor). Franz Schubert's Werke, Series VIII: Pianoforte und Ein Instrument. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1886
- Printed Music: D 895 Rondeau Brillant (op. 70) at www
- Printed Music: D 574 Duo (en La) pour Piano et Violon (op. post. 162) at www
- Helmut Wirth (editor). New Schubert Edition, Series VI (Chamber Music) – Vol. 8: Works for Piano and one instrument. Bärenreiter, 1970. ISMN 9790006472000
- Schubert: Complete Music for Violin and Piano. Brilliant Classics, 2015. EAN 5028421951157
- Jonathan Woolf. "Franz Schubert: Complete works for Violin and Piano" at www
.musicweb-international, 2004 .com
- Deutsch, Otto Erich; et al. (Walther Dürr, Arnold Feil, Christa Landon and Werner Aderhold) (1978). Franz Schubert: Thematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke in chronologischer Folge. New Schubert Edition (in German). Series VIII (Supplement), Vol. 4. Kassel: Bärenreiter. ISBN 9783761805718. ISMN 9790006305148.