SELECTED INSTRUMENTAL SONATAS AND VOCAL LITERATURE
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Every collaborative pianist is called upon to perform the duo sonatas as well as the chamber music and vocal works of the great German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897). For that reason, studying and performing as much of this repertoire as possible is an indispensable part of the collaborative pianist’s education. Brahms created some of his most superb compositions in the realm of piano chamber music, a genre for which he wrote throughout his career. His style of composition elevated the genre to previously unforeseen heights, truly making all the involved instruments equals. Also a prolific song writer throughout the entirety of his musical career, Brahms’ published his first set of songs, Op.3 in 1853, his last, the Four Serious Songs, Op.121, just before his death. His earliest instrumental sonata is for piano and cello, Op.38 (1862 – 1865) and his last were the two sonatas written for piano and clarinet, Op.120 (1894). A certain lifelong fondness for these intimate and relatively small-scale compositions is clearly evident.
Notably, Brahms himself was a performing pianist who premiered many of his own works. His writing for the piano is distinctive and easily recognized: chords, octaves, counterpoint, leaps, and a disregard for any technical pianistic limitations. Because of Brahms' groundbreaking compositional style, the skills listed above came to constitute a necessary part of the pianist’s keyboard vocabulary, and perhaps most relevantly the collaborative pianist.
The three recitals comprising this dissertation include: November 3, 2015, the Clarinet Sonatas and the Zigeunerlieder with Jihoon Chang, clarinet and Joy Stevans, soprano; September 13, 2016, the G Major Violin Sonata and the Sonatensatz with Jennifer Lee, violin, the Regenlied with Lilly Ahn, soprano, and the Zwei Gesänge for Alto, Viola and Piano with Sarah Best, mezzo-soprano and Caroline Castleton, viola; February 26, 2017, the two Cello Sonatas performed with Jongbin Kim, cello. The recitals were performed and recorded at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center Gildenhorn Recital Hall. They are available on compact discs which can be found in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).