Violin Sonata No.1 in E flat Major, Op.77
Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901) was born in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. At the age of 5, young Joseph was given piano and organ lessons from a local teacher. His talent was immediately discovered and was of such a substantial nature that with the help of a scholarship he was sent to the Royal Conservatory in Munich where he studied with Franz Lachner, one of Schubertís close friends and an important composer in his own right. Rheinberger, himself eventually taught at the Royal Conservatory where he held the position of Professor of Composition for nearly 40 years. Remembered today only for his organ compositions which are considered the most important ever written after those of Bach, during his life time Rheinberger was a much respected composer, generally ranked after Brahms and Wagner as the most important living German composer.
Violin Sonata No.1 dates from 1874. It is composed in three large movements. The opening movement, Allegro con fuoco, begins in a more lyrical and romantic style than one full of fire. However, quickly the music rises in temperature to several dramatic climaxes, full of pent up emotion. The middle movement, Adagio espressivo, opens in a quiet and reflective mode, but full of beauty. This revery is interrupted by several syncopated episodes which are quite dramatic and at times have a faint gypsy aura. The finale, Alla tarantella, bursts out of the gate in typical Italian fashion, a wild dance, full of mad energy.
This is a superb work which once was a staple of the violin recital repertoire and which inexplicably fell out of it after the First World War. It deserves to return and will be warmly welcomed by both players and listeners alike. We have reprinted the original edition. The violin part in the piano score---and not the piano part or the violin part---is a little light in places, though perfectly readable. Not surprising for a 140 year old copy. As a result, we have reduced the price from our already low normal sonata price to reflect this fact.