Piano Sonata (Reubke)

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The Piano Sonata in B-flat minor is a work written by Julius Reubke between December 1856 and March 1857. Although it remains very obscure and is little performed (unlike the composer's Sonata on the 94th Psalm[1] for organ), it combines the Lisztian technique of thematic transformation, colourful harmonies, virtuosic piano writing and a wide array of characters and sentiments.

The sonata was published posthumously, edited by the composer's brother, in 1871.[2]


The work opens with an Allegro maestoso, characterised by a dramatic, rising forte first subject. This rising motif (a minor semitone followed by a major third jump), is a significant theme of the movement, recalled at various points throughout (including the cadenza-like passagework). The main theme is built over a chordal structure of i, bII6, viio7, i4-3, v, and VI6/4. The work has other, similarly interesting modulations, presented as undecorated chordal series. The second theme, marked Quasi Recitativo is written in a free and vocal style. Its melancholy second subject, in the distant key of E major, recalls something of Reubke's own sadly short life.[3]


  1. ^ Reubke, Julius (1991) [1925]. Skinner, Jon; Stradal, August, eds. Sonata for Organ, arranged for Piano Solo by August Stradal (PDF). waltercosand.com. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Gailit, Michael. Julius Reubke (1834-1858) : Leben und Werk. OCLC 976913484. 
  3. ^ See score at IMSLP. See also OCLC 165361231.

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