On This Day… October 23

Brahms has often been criticised for never really using new forms in his compositions. However, in the piece we look at today, it could be said that he saved an old form that would have been lost otherwise. Brahms’ 3rd Piano Sonata, Op. 5, premiered on this day in 1854.

When Brahms wrote this piece, the piano sonata was seen to be on its way out of fashion. It was a classical genre, that apparently had no relevance to romantic composers. Composed in Dusseldorf, it is unusually large, consisting of five movements as opposed to the traditional four. Brahms’ admiration of Beethoven is distinctly recognisable, being infused with the theme from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Brahms was barely 20 when he presented this sonata to Schumann for commentary – the last of his works that he presented to him.

Today we have a performance of the sonata performed by pianist Boris Berezovsky.

What do you think of the sonata? What performances have you seen of this sonata? Let me know in the comments, or write your own blog post linking back here, and I’ll add a link below.

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