Christopher Nupen describes the circumstances in which Brahms wrote his sonatas No. 2 and 3, here performed by Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug.
The violin sonatas have long been thought of as pillars of German absolute music but, in fact, the first and second are full of direct personal statements and musical references that are closely connected with Brahms's feelings for Clara Schumann and Hermine Spies. This film, just like the first one, concentrates on Brahms's relationships with these two women and points to some of the musical references in the sonatas which would have been understood at the time only by the two women and by Brahms himself.
The third Violin Sonata, written, like the second, during Brahms's three exceptionally fertile summers on the shores of Lake Thun, is the most abstract and systematically constructed of the three; it is, nevertheless, dedicated to Brahms’s friend, Hans von Bülow and reflects something of Brahms’s appreciation of von Bülow’s virtuosity as a pianist.
The Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Lawrence Foster (conductor)
A film by Christopher Nupen
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): The violin and viola sonatas (I/III)
Verbier Festival 2011