Cello Sonata No. 2 in F Major, Op. 99, part 2
In this lesson, students Robin de Talhouët and Julie Haismann are advised to match articulations with the piano when applicable, and work on visual communication, such as body language, to connect with the piano. In addition to discussing the importance of ensemble playing between cello and piano, Beaver suggests experimenting with timing in the sonata, encouraging students to play longer phrases when necessary, as well as to play with urgency or on the contrary, slow down when appropriate to create different varying colors.
Beaver also touches on generating more excitement and enthusiasm in the piece by using a range of dynamics to support this.
Communicating between instruments.
Experimenting to add color.
Using a range of dynamics.
Treating rests as equal parts of the music.
Brahms composed his second cello sonata in 1886 for Robert Hausmann, his close friend and the cellist in the illustrious Joachim String Quartet. One of his later chamber compositions, this substantial work pushed the boundaries of both the piano and cello. Given the virtuosic and dynamic piano part, the cellist must compete with a powerful sound and a strong mastery of tremolo, pizzicato, and high register playing. The first movement, Allegro vivace, may have been confusing to audience members at the time due to fragmented themes, unusual melodic leaps and rhythms, and dissonant harmonies. The second movement, Adagio affettuoso, unexpectedly begins in the key of F-sharp major before transitioning to a more somber F minor. The cello starts in pizzicato and eventually takes over with a captivating high register melody. The scherzo movement, marked Allegro passionato, is lively yet turbulent, contrasted with a more lyrical trio section. The piece concludes with Allegro molto, a short rondo that vacillates between a charming melody and a more strident march, eventually driving to a bright finish.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this chamber music masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Martin Beaver’s feedback and comments.
Professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the Colburn Conservatory of Music and Colburn Music Academy in Los Angeles.
As a member of the Tokyo String Quartet, Martin Beaver was privileged to perform on the 1727 Stradivarius violin from the “Paganini Quartet” set of instruments, on generous loan to the quartet from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Recordings of the Tokyo String Quartet during his tenure notably include the complete Beethoven quartets on the Harmonia Mundi label. Mr. Beaver’s concerto and recital appearances span four continents with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and under the batons of Kazuyoshi Akiyama, among others. Chamber music performances include collaborations with such eminent artists as Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Sabine Meyer and Yefim Bronfman. Mr. Beaver is a regular guest at prominent festivals in North America and abroad. Among these are: the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla SummerFest, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and more. Mr. Beaver’s discography includes concerti, sonatas and chamber music on the Harmonia Mundi USA, Biddulph, Naim Audio, René Gailly, Musica Viva, SM 5000, Toccata Classics and Naxos labels. His recorded repertoire ranges from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms to the music of 21st century composers. He is a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth, Montreal and Indianapolis competitions.
A devoted educator, Mr. Beaver has conducted masterclasses all over the globe. He has held teaching positions at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of British Columbia and the Peabody Conservatory. More recently, he served on the faculty of New York University and as Artist in Residence at the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded its highest honor – the Sanford Medal. He joined the faculty of the Colburn School in Los Angeles in August 2013, where he is currently Professor of Violin and Chamber Music. Martin Beaver is a founding member of the Montrose Trio with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and cellist Clive Greensmith.
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