Violin Sonata No.1 in g minor, Op.19
Emil Sjögren (1853-1918) was trained as an organist and studied composition in Stockholm and Berlin. He made his career as an organist and many of his compositions are for that instrument. Today he is primarily remembered as a composer of songs, however, his works for solo piano as well as for violin and piano were very well thought of, and before the First World War, often performed in concert.
The First Violin Sonata was composed in 1884. Franz Liszt, upon hearing it, was so impressed that he secured its publication, which in no small part put Sjögren on the musical map. In three big movements, the opening Allegro vivace immediately creates a highly dramatic mood as the violin enters with a lyrical theme over a piano tremolo. A second theme is calmer but equally as lyrical. The middle movement, Andante, could well be subtitled romance for the gorgeous themes are highly romantic in nature. The vocal quality of the music is quite apparent from the violin's role. The finale, Presto, bursts forth with irrepressible energy and forward motion. The second theme, more reflective and less frenetic, provides a fine contrast.
Certainly, this sonata is a worthy candidate to be included on any violinist concert program. Unavailable for many years, we are pleased to reintroduce it.