Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op.108, 2nd, 3rd, 4th movements
In this masterclass, György Pauk discusses phrasing, pacing, and dynamics in the second, third, and fourth movements of Brahms’ third violin sonata. In the second movement, he helps student Anatol Toth find a tempo that allows the music to flow better, and works with him to play with the appropriate sound quality and vibrato. Pauk also encourages the student to play with the clearest phrasing possible, and helps him determine the pacing of the dynamics. At times, the written dynamics must be slightly adjusted to capture the intention of the phrase.
In the third movement, they once again strive to solidify the most effective tempo. Pauk instructs the student on note lengths and bow strokes in order to capture the right color and 'expressivity'. He also emphasizes the importance of timing, and helps both the pianist, and the violinist exaggerate their musical ideas. In the final movement, Pauk focuses on details such as articulation, pacing, character, and dynamics.
Choosing a tempo that allows the sound and melody to flourish.
What kind of vibrato is appropriate for the music.
Playing clear and obvious phrases.
Bringing out the colors and the character.
Playing the correct note lengths and bow strokes.
Johannes Brahms composed his third and final violin sonata between 1886-88, toward the end of his career. By this time he had already completed most of his large-scale, major works and was focusing primarily on chamber music. Unlike its predecessors, the third sonata consists of four movements. Though it was dedicated to Hans von Bülow, it was premiered by Hungarian violinist Jenő Hubay instead, with Brahms himself on the piano. The first movement, Allegro, intensely develops a few recurring motifs over its course. The violin and piano take turns as melody and accompaniment, luxuriating in expansive, passionate melodies. The second movement, Adagio, is in D Major rather than minor, and provides a gentle interlude from the intensity, allowing the lyricism of the violin to shine. In the third movement, Un poco presto e con sentimento, the violin begins with a simple accompaniment while the piano dominates with a playful, lilting scherzo, though the two come together with melodic moments throughout. The emotionally turbulent final movement, Presto agitato, involves melody, dance, and extreme contrast, offering a chance for both instrumentalists to showcase their virtuosity.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to György Pauk's feedback and comments.
First Prize in 1956 at the Niccolò Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy.
Recognized as one of the leading violinists of his generation, György Pauk was born in Budapest, Hungary, and received his musical education at the renown Franz Liszt Music Academy. Before settling in London in 1961, he already won First Prize at the Paganini Competition in Genova, The Premier Grand Prix at the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, First Prize at the Munich Sonata Competition, and had performed numerous concerts all over Eastern Europe.
He made his London debut in the Wigmore Hall in 1962, receiving outstanding reviews in the press, followed by his orchestral debut in the Royal Festival Hall, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He made his US debut with the Chicago Symphony at the invitation of Sir George Solti. Likewise, he has performed in all five continents, giving an average of 90 concerts a year alongside many major orchestras, collaborating with conductors like Haitink, Dorati, Barbirolli, Solti, Kondrashin, Boulez, Rattle, Dutoit, Rozdestvensky, Dohnanyi, Colin Davis, and more. What's more, he has appeared, among others, at the Edinburgh, Luzern, Cheltenham, Bath, Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Aspen, Dubrovnik, and Prague Spring Festivals.
He was a regular soloist at the Henry Wood Promenade Seasons at the Albert Hall and made innumerable broadcasts for the BBC. His exceptional rich repertoire, also for chamber music, includes several masterpieces of the 20th Century. He retired from the podium after five decades, playing his last farewell concert with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under their conductor Ivan Fischer in Budapest in 2008.
György Pauk is now professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he conducts a “Performers Class” with selected young talents from all over the world. He has led masterclasses in the US at the following institutions: Curtis, Peabody, Yale, Cleveland, Oberlin, Manhattan School, San Francisco, and Juilliard School, as well as in schools all over China, Japan, Israel and across Europe. He is often invited to juries of many major international violin competitions.
Born in Hamburg, Germany on May 7, 1833, Johannes Brahms was the son of musician Johann Jakob Brahms. Johannes Brahms began his musical education learning the piano, cello, and horn. From the age of 7-years-old, he studied the piano under Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel.
Composer, pianist, and conductor, Brahms began his career at the end of the classical tradition (approx. 1730-1820) and established himself as a central figure in classical music’s Romantic era. His first concert tour took place in 1853 where he built a deep camaraderie with fellow musician, Robert Schumann.
His first major work presented to the public was Concerto No. 1 for piano and orchestra in D minor, which was performed by himself in Leipzig in 1859. In 1863, he moved to Vienna, where he was appointed conductor of Singakademie (Singing academy), which he would leave only a year later.
By 1868, Brahms achieved fame throughout Europe for the premiere of his renowned work German Requiem. Other notable works by Brahms include but are not limited to: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, op. 15, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 24, Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 25, Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, op. 38 Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 68, Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77 Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 78 Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98, and Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, op. 99 Quintet with Clarinet in B minor, Op. 115. Brahms has been lauded for his deep understanding of formal construction and his rendering of melodic richness, harmonic complexity, and his mastery to achieve a myriad of moods and atmosphere.
Johannes Brahms passed away on April 3,1897, in Vienna.
Photo credit: Fritz Luckhardt