Sonata in B flat Major for Clarinet or Violin & Piano, Op.38
"One of the very best late romantic sonatas for clarinet. Not to be missed"---The Editor of the Chamber Music Journal.
Felix Draeseke (1835-1913) was born in the German city of Coburg. He began composing at an early age and subsequently entered the famous Leipzig Conservatory where he studied composition with Julius Rietz and piano with Ignaz Moscheles. However, his musical outlook was shaped and influenced by the so-called New German School of which Liszt and Wagner were the leading proponents. He held a number of teaching positions in Switzerland and Germany, eventually settling in the city of Dresden and a few years later began teaching at the Dresden Conservatory. He wrote in nearly every genre and his works were frequently performed during his lifetime. Liszt was a champion of many of Draeseke’s compositions and helped them gain publication.
The Sonata was composed in the mid 1880s. The opening Allegro moderato and begins with a pleasant and attractive chromatic theme. The second subject theme is based on a pithy motif that contrasts with the long-breathed first theme. A dramatic passage interrupts the discourse before a cadenza for the clarinet leads to the coda. One of the high points of the sonata is in the lyrical second movement, Adagio. The movement ends Lento and pianissimo. The third movement is a bright Scherzo with a slinky trio.which is divided into two parts, the second of which develops the ideas of the first, modulating through several keys. The lively Finale sports three themes. The first theme is a buoyant and appealing melody, while the second is slow and mournful in the minor. The closing theme brings back the opening theme of the first movement of the sonata. The excellence of the sonata was quickly recognized by his publisher who asked him to make a version for violin as well so that it could be played more frequently.