Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug play Brahms's F.A.E. Scherzo and Sonata No. 1

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Pinchas Zukerman — Violinist

Marc Neikrug — Pianist

Program notes

The composition of the Violin sonata F.A.E. results from the encounter of Johannes Brahms with Robert and Clara Schumann. The movie narrates this decisive and moving episode of the composer's life which is illustrated by the performance of the Scherzo and Violin sonata in G Major by Pinchas Zukerman and Mark Neikrug.

Brahms composed his first violin sonata for a tour in north Germany. He played all his compositions by heart and thus the score was lost and never published. A performance in Hanover in 1853 during this tour was the occasion for Brahms to demonstrate his virtuosity. The piano was tuned a semi-tone flat and instead of asking the violinist to tune with the piano, Brahms played the piano part from memory and transposing it a semi-tone up!

Back from his tour, Brahms met Joseph Joachim, the leading violinist in Germany. The two musicians immediately developped a very strong friendship. Following Joachim's advice, Brahms knocked on Robert and Clara Schumann's door. Both of them were seduced by the young composer's talent...

Schumann and Brahms decided to compose a violin sonata with Dietrich (Schumann's pupil) which would be dedicated to Joachim. Brahms composed the Scherzo of this collaborative work which became the F.A.E. sonata "Frei aber Einsam" (Free but Lonely).

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