Violin Sonata No. 2 (Schumann)

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The Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D minor Op. 121 by Robert Schumann was completed in November 1851,[1] Dedicated to the violinist Ferdinand David, the sonata received its first public performance from Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim on October 29, 1853 in Düsseldorf, in a concert that marked the beginning of a long term musical collaboration.

The work is in four movements:

  1. Ziemlich langsam - lebhaft
  2. Sehr lebhaft
  3. Leise, einfach
  4. Bewegt

The first movement begins with a stately sequence of chords, the contour of which is then used for the first subject proper. The fourth bar of this theme contains a distinctive syncopated rhythm that plays a role in the link to the second subject, and is also used extensively in the development.[2] The vigorously driving second movement in B minor (vi in relation to the home key) is of the scherzo genre, and appears to have influenced the young Johannes Brahms, particularly in the C minor scherzo he wrote for the F-A-E Sonata. Near the end of this movement, the chorale melody "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ" is quoted triumphantly in the major. The relatively serene G major third movement is a set of variations, opening with a passage of violin pizzicato triple-stops, mirroring the chordal introduction of the first movement. The finale returns to the key and mood of the beginning, with a long and dramatic trajectory toward an exuberant conclusion in the major.


  1. ^ Daverio, John. Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age" (Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 460.
  2. ^ Perry, Beate, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Schumann (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 2007), p. 138

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