Analysis and Comparison of the Clarinet and Viola Versions of the Two Sonatas by Brahms

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Analysis and Comparison of the Clarinet and Viola Versions of the Two Sonatas by Brahms Name Institution Introduction Johannes Brahms, a romantic composer, did two clarinet sonatas Op. 120, 1 and 2 in 1894. Brahmas wrote the two works for clarinet and piano, and dedicated them to his clarinetist friend Richard Mühlfeld (Musgrave, 1985; Swafford, 1997). The clarinet sonata was largely underdeveloped with regards to its form until the completion of the two sonatas, when the combination of piano and clarinet was used in the subsequent works. The two composition are significant among Brahms other works as they stem from a period in Brahms life when he just embraced the beauty of color and sound of the clarinet. In addition, the two sonatas were the last chamber pieces Brahms composed before his death. He notably prepared an oft-performed transcription of the sonatas for viola, and altered the register to suit the instrument. While at his Bad Ischl retreat in the summer of 1894, Brhams completed the two sonatas. The two sonatas were reportedly first performed for Duke Georg and his family privately in the September of 1894. The two sonatas were written in F minor and E-flat major, corresponding to the two clarinet concertos by Weber (Swafford, 1997). Significance of the Study Given the significant contributions of Johannes Brahms’ compositions and music publications, several studies have been conducted on his composition styles. The current study similarly seeks to understand the differences between the viola and clarinet versions as published by Brahms, particularly focusing on the distinct characteristics of the two instruments. The study introduces new dimensions to the extant literature by exploring alterations that Brahms made for the viola and the sound of identical passages which can be expressed differently according to the instrument. By

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