Schubert's compositions for violin and piano

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From March 1816 to August 1817, Franz Schubert composed four violin sonatas. All four were published after the composer's death: the first three, D 384, 385 and 408, as Sonatinas in 1836 (Op. posth. 137), and the last one, D 574, as Duo in 1851 (Op. posth. 162). Schubert composed two more pieces for violin and piano, in October 1826 and December 1827 respectively: a Rondo, D 895, which was published during the composer's lifetime (Op. 70), and a Fantasy, D 934, which was premiered in January 1828, less than a year before the composer's death.[1]

The 1816–1817 sonatas breathe an intimate atmosphere, requiring no virtuoso bravura from their performers, while the 1826–1827 pieces, composed for the Bohemian violinist Josef Slavík, have been characterized as more demanding, also for the pianist, and have a more extroverted character.[2][3][4]

Sonatas (1816–1817)[edit]

Schubert was an accomplished violinist and had already extensively composed for violin, including over a dozen string quartets, by the time he started to write violin sonatas at age 19.[2][3][4]

Sonatinas Op. 137[edit]

The compositions for violin and piano D 384, 385 and 408 were named Sonata in Schubert's autographs.[5][6] They were named Sonatina when published posthumously as Op. 137 in 1836.[7] Since these works are modest in size—rather to be compared to Mozart's violin sonatas than to Beethoven's—the "Sonatina" diminutive stuck to them.[2][3][4]

No. 1 in D major, D 384[edit]

Schubert wrote "März 1816" (March 1816) on the autograph score of his Sonata for Violin and Piano in D major (D 384).[5][8] The sonata has three movements:[5]

  1. Allegro molto
  2. Andante
  3. Allegro vivace

No. 2 in A minor, D 385[edit]

Titled "Sonata II" and dated March 1816 in the autograph, the Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor (D 385) has four movements:[5]

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Andante
  3. Menuetto: Allegro
  4. Allegro

No. 3 in G minor, D 408[edit]

Schubert dated the Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor (D 408) April 1816 in the autograph, and titled it "Sonata III".[6] The sonata has four movements:[6]

  1. Allegro giusto
  2. Andante
  3. Menuetto: Allegro vivace
  4. Allegro moderato

Duo in A major, D 574[edit]

There is no extant autograph of the Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D 574, but there is an early manuscript copy titling the work as Sonate, and indicating its time of composition as August 1817.[9] It was named Duo when published as Op. 162 in 1851.[9] It has four movements:[9]

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Scherzo: Presto
  3. Andantino
  4. Allegro vivace

Rondo (1826) and Fantasy (1827)[edit]

Both the Rondo in B minor, D 895, and the Fantasy in C major, D 934, were apparently composed for the Czech violist Josef Slavík and the pianist Carl Maria von Bocklet: they performed these works before Schubert's death in November 1828.[2][3][4][10][11]

Rondeau brillant, D 895[edit]

In his autograph, dated October 1826, Schubert indicated D 895 as "Rondo". It was published in April 1827 by Artaria as the composer's Op. 70, titled Rondeau brillant. The composition is in B minor and has two sections: an introductory Andante followed by an Allegro in sonata rondo form.[3][10]

Fantasy in C major, D 934[edit]

For the Fantasy in C major, D 934, which was composed in December 1827, the name given by Schubert, Fantaisie, corresponds with that of its first publication in 1850 as Op. 159.[12][13] The work is in one movement with several sections:[3][11]

  1. Andante molto
  2. Allegretto
  3. Andantino
    This section consists of four variations on a variant of the tune of Schubert's lied "Sei mir gegrüßt", D 741 [scores].
  4. Allegro vivace


Josef Slavík, the violinist who premiered both the Rondo D 895 and the Fantasy D 934

The Rondo in B minor, D 895, was performed by Josef Slavík and Carl Maria von Bocklet at music publisher Domenico Artaria's, in Schubert's presence, probably early 1827.[10] At the time, the work was well received.[4] According to a note written by Joseph Joachim in October 1857, he had performed this work with Marie Wieck.[14] Documented 19th-century public performances include:

  • 20 January 1828: Fantasy, D 934, premiered by Josef Slavík and Carl Maria von Bocklet in the Landhaussaal in Vienna.[11] A contemporary critic was dismissive about the work for its length.[3]
  • 21 October 1862 and 2 December 1867: Rondo Brillant, Op. 70, in the Gewandhaus (Leipzig). With the piano part orchestrated by Ferdinand David, this piece was performed in the same venue on New Year's Day 1872.[15]
  • 7 February 1864: Fantasie, Op. 159, in the Gewandhaus (Leipzig).[15]
  • 3 March 1864: first public performance of Duo, Op. 162, in the Musikverein (Vienna).[9]

The publication of Schubert's works for violin and piano had started in 1827 and was completed quarter of a century later. The pieces were recorded in the 20th and 21st century.


The 19th-century collected edition published Schubert's compositions for piano and one other instrument in its eighth series in 1886, edited by Ignaz Brüll. The first six pieces in that volume were Schubert's compositions for violin and piano, all of which had been published before:[16]

Series VI, Volume 8 of the New Schubert Edition, published in 1970, contained the same works as series VIII of the 19th-century collected edition, but presented them in chronological order of composition.[19]


Recordings grouping all six of Schubert's compositions for violin and piano:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Printed Music: chamber music - duets (without sonatas) at
  2. ^ a b c d e Dennis D. Rooney. Liner notes to Schubert: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano. Brilliant Classics No. 92275 (EAN 5028421922751), 2004.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Richard Wigmore. Liner notes to Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano. Hyperion CDA67911/2, 2013. EAN 034571179117
  4. ^ a b c d e f Harry Halbreich. Liner notes to CD 6–7, pp. 3–5 in Schubert Edition: Liner notes, sung texts, full tracklist. Brilliant Classics No. 94870 (EAN 5028421948706), 2014
  5. ^ a b c d Deutsch 1978, pp. 232–233.
  6. ^ a b c Deutsch 1978, p. 244.
  7. ^ a b Printed Music: D 384 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,1), D 385 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,2) and D 408 Drei Sonatinen für Piano-Forte und Violine (op. post. 137,3) at
  8. ^ Sonatinas, violin, piano, D. 384, D major at Juilliard School website (Facsimile of autograph score, RISM 900004981)
  9. ^ a b c d Deutsch 1978, pp. 332–333.
  10. ^ a b c Deutsch 1978, pp. 563564.
  11. ^ a b c Deutsch 1978, p. 597.
  12. ^ Autograph Scores: D 934 Fantasie in C (op. post. 159) at
  13. ^ a b Printed Music: D 934 Fantasie (op. post. 159) at
  14. ^ RISM 201010172
  15. ^ a b Alfred Dörffel. "Statistik der Concerte im Saale des Gewandhauses zu Leipzig" p. 64, in Geschichte der Gewandhausconcerte zu Leipzig vom 25. November 1781 bis 25. November 1881: Im Auftrage der Concert-Direction verfasst. Leipzig, 1884.
  16. ^ Ignaz Brüll (editor). Franz Schubert's Werke, Series VIII: Pianoforte und Ein Instrument. Breitkopf & Härtel, 1886
  17. ^ Printed Music: D 895 Rondeau Brillant (op. 70) at
  18. ^ Printed Music: D 574 Duo (en La) pour Piano et Violon (op. post. 162) at
  19. ^ Helmut Wirth (editor). New Schubert Edition, Series VI (Chamber Music) – Vol. 8: Works for Piano and one instrument. Bärenreiter, 1970. ISMN 9790006472000
  20. ^ Schubert: Complete Music for Violin and Piano. Brilliant Classics, 2015. EAN 5028421951157
  21. ^ Jonathan Woolf. "Franz Schubert: Complete works for Violin and Piano" at, 2004


External links[edit]