Clarinet Sonata No. 2
Clarinet Sonata No. 2
Produced by the Saline royale Academy in April, 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.
"In addition, the master performs a large number of indications to work more clearly and neatly on the theme (“it's an asymmetrical theme”), the direction (“think about where you going”), the execution of certain intervals, the importance of the preparation (“The bigger the interval, the more time you need”, “taking less time than a fifth than a seventh. Brahms does it all the time”), phrasing (“What is natural? Closer to the singing voice”), and the connection between notes. To work on these aspects of the piece, the master goes over different exercises: repeating each interval separately, playing extremely slowly, thinking about the amount of air for each interval, and so on.
At times it becomes very specific, so it's also very challenging. Other times it gets more general and covers not only this sonata but key issues for the interpretation of chamber music. "
- It is important to think about where you going
- This music is romantic.
- The bigger the interval, the more time one needs
- About phrasing: the natural is to get closer to the singing voice.
"Here it's really basic, intense Johann Brahms. So you don't just play comfortably. Ever. Not one note in the piece."
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this clarinet masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Sharon Kam’s feedback and comments.
Won the 1992 ARD Music Competition in Munich.
Sharon Kam is one of the world’s leading clarinet soloists and has been working with renowned orchestras in the United States, Europe, and Japan for over 20 years. Mozart’s clarinet masterpieces have been an object of artistic focus for Ms. Kam since the beginning of her career. At the age of 16, she performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in her orchestral debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta. A short time later, she performed the Clarinet Quintet with the Guarneri String Quartet in Carnegie Hall, New York. As part of Mozart’s 250th birthday celebrations at the National Theatre in Prague, her interpretation of the Mozart concerto was televised live in 33 countries and is available on DVD. In the same year, she was able to realize her longtime dream of recording the Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet using the basset clarinet.
Contributing to the widely praised disk were eminent string players Isabelle van Keulen, Ulrike-Anima Mathé, Volker Jacobsen and Gustav Rivinus, as well as the Haydn Philharmonie.
As a passionate chamber musician, Sharon Kam regularly works with artists such as Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Enrico Pace, Daniel Müller-Schott, Leif Ove Andsnes, Carolin Widmann and the Jerusalem Quartet. She is a frequent guest at festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Heimbach, Rheingau, Risør, Cork, Verbier, and Delft, as well as the Schubertiade festival. An active performer of contemporary music, she has premiered many works, including Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concerto and Quartet and concertos by Herbert Willi (at the Salzburg Festival), Iván Erőd and Peter Ruzicka (at Donaueschingen).
Sharon Kam feels at home in a variety of musical genres – from classical to modern music and jazz – a fact reflected in her diverse discography. She received the ECHO “Instrumentalist of the Year” award two times: in 1998, for her Weber recording with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig and Kurt Masur, and in 2006, for her CD with the Leipzig Radio Orchestra featuring works by Spohr, Weber, Rossini and Mendelssohn. Her “American Classics” CD with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by her husband Gregor Bühl, was awarded the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik Prize. In 2013 she released a recording entitled “Opera!”. This collaboration with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester, conducted by Ruben Gazarian, includes transcriptions of operatic arias ranging from Rossini and Puccini to Wolf-Ferrari, arranged for clarinet and chamber orchestra. The release was accompanied by an inaugural tour. To mark the 100th anniversary of Max Reger’s death in 2016, her chamber music partners from her Mozart recording rejoined to record the clarinet quintets by Reger and Brahms (Edel, October 2015). During the season 2019/20 Sharon Kam will perform at concert halls including the Wiener Musikverein and in a portrait concert at the Elbphiharmonie as well as with the Vienna and Munich Chamber Orchestras, the Staatskapelle Halle, the Saarländischen Staatsorchester, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra. In September 2019 her new Trio album was released, recorded with her long-term partners Ori Kam and Matan Porat, with whom she will also present their acclaimed program again at various chamber music series.
Sharon Kam is a Buffet Crampon Artist and has always been playing the R13 model. Her mouthpiece is made by Peter Eaton, London.
"Johannes Brahms, Clarinet Sonata No.2, Op.120, the second movement. The Clarinet Sonatas, No. 1 and 2, are a pair of works written in 1894 for clarinet and piano, and are dedicated to the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld. The sonatas stem from a period late in Johann Brahms's life where he “discovered” the beauty of the sound and tonal color of the clarinet."
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