Violin Sonata No.1 in a minor, Op.8
Gustav Jenner (1865-1920) was Brahms' only full-time composition student. Jenner, who was born in the town of Keitum on the German island of Sylt, was the son of a doctor who was of Scottish ancestry and a descendant of the famous physician Edward Jenner, pioneer of the vaccination for smallpox. Jenner began his studies with Brahms' own teacher, Eduard Marxsen and then with Brahms in Vienna. Jenner held the position of Music Director at the University of Marburg from 1895 until his death.
Given the fact that few German composers of Brahms' time, none of whom were his students, escaped the great man's influence, it would be unreasonable to expect that someone who studied with Brahms for as long as Jenner did could have done so. Although Jenner writes with great originality and one finds many ideas which Brahms would never have thought of, nonetheless Brahms' influence is often felt in Jenner's music.
Violin Sonata No.1 was completed in 1903 and clearly shows the influence of his teacher. The main theme of the opening movement, Allegro, is not too fast and somewhat melancholy but not without sweetness. The second subject is stormy. The lovely Andante which follows is subdued and has much the same mood as the first movement until a thrusting series of Brahmsian chords interrupts affairs before order is restored. The title of third movement, Allegro appassionato, dance like and yearning while the middle section is a bright scherzando. The finale, Allegro energico, begins with a series of powerful chords, again thrusting with Brahmsian cadences, but the main subject is a lovely lyrical song-like melody.
Out of print for a long time, we are pleased to make it available and believe professionals and amateurs will find this fine sonata like having another Brahms sonata in their library.