Violin masterpieces: Solos II
Franck: Violin Sonata in A Major
This piece is better seen as a violin sonata masterpiece, rather than as Franck's magnum opus. This piece was dedicated to the great violinist Ysaye to celebrate his wedding. It expresses the full charm of the violin, and along with Beethoven's "Kreutzer Sonata" is the piece most enjoyed and played by violinists.
Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78
Brahms left behind three violin sonatas, all of which are considered masterpieces. This piece and "Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108" are most well-known, and both are often played today. Violin Sonata No. 1 is called the "Rain Sonata," because Brahms' own "Regenlied" (Op. 59-3) is used as the main theme at the start of the third movement of the piece. The first private performance was performed by the great violinist (and Brahms' old friend), Joseph Joachim. It is said that Clara Schumann, widow of Robert Schumann and object of Brahms' affection, was also present.
Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20
Sarasate was an outstanding violinist who was active during the 19th century. Although many composers dedicated works to him, he also left behind several masterpieces that truly took advantage of the strengths of the violin. "Zigeunerweisen" is probably the most famous of these works. The piece is also famous for appearing in Hyakken Uchida's "Sarasate no Ban (Sarasate's Record)," a novella in which a mysterious whispering can be heard from a record of Sarasate himself playing the piece.