Johannes Brahms

Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 99

    Description by James Reel

    After his first cello sonata, Brahms wrote all four of his symphonies before turning to a second sonata. Although it's a product of his middle years, this F major work is marked by a youthful boldness and symphonic approach to the piano writing, while never sacrificing a generous, easy lyricism.

    The first movement, Allegro vivace, sends the cello leaping around the staff over the piano's tremolo notes. It's the piano that introduces the ardent second subject, soon falling into cross rhythms that undermine the music's 3/4 pulse. The dramatic development is comparatively dark, often hovering in the minor, but youthful assurance returns in the recapitulation.

    The slow movement, Adagio affetuoso, ventures into the distant key of F sharp major with the cello providing a mere pizzicato accompaniment as the piano introduces the noble first theme. The more impassioned middle section falls into F minor and the lower reaches of the cello, then it gives way to the urgent return of the first section.

    Again, the piano takes the lead at the beginning of the scherzo, Allegro passionato, a quietly gathering storm that breaks when the cello soon enters in full voice. The piano part in this movement is especially complex, but the atmosphere becomes more serene in the central trio section, which glides from F minor to major. Last comes a rondo, Allegro molto, that initially seems too light to cap such a substantial, serious sonata. The first section, soft, gentle, and songlike, punctuates episodes that are in turn march-like, ardent, and stern. The principal melody's final return, however, is sunny, and the cellist may optionally revive it with pizzicato rather than bowed notes.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro vivace
    2. Adagio affettuoso
    3. Allegro passionato
    4. Allegro molto

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Decca
    2016 Alpha / Arena Classics 223
    2016 Mirare MIR 270
    2016 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8571319
    2016 EPR-Classic EPRC 0022
    2015 Danacord DACOCD 738
    2015 Evidence EVCD 012
    2015 Naxos 8573489
    2015 Naïve V 5387
    2015 Sony Classics 513074
    2015 Audite 21433
    2014 Avie AVR 2300
    2014 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4793767
    2014 Es-Dur ES 2016
    2014 MSR Classics MD 1516
    2014 Claudio / Claudio Bohema CB 60052
    2013 Capriccio Records C 5173
    2013 Decca 4785093
    2013 Sony Classical 88765438572
    2012 CAvi-music CAVI 8553270
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Coviello Classics COV 51204
    2012 Genuin GEN 12235
    2012 Melodiya MELCD 1001938
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Archipel ARPCD0523
    2011 Talent / Talent Records DOM 38111415
    2011 Centaur Records CRC 31403141
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099909636
    2011 Telarc Distribution
    2011 Telarc Distribution 32664
    2011 Telarc Distribution TEL3266402
    2011 UT3 Records / Zebralution
    2011 Orchid Classics ORC100016
    2010 Artek 51
    2010 Hyperion 30005
    2010 BIS 1606
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Gall (formerly Gallo) / Gallo 1305-07
    2010 Wigmore Hall Live 35
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 509996886272
    2010 ZYX Classics 10105
    2010 Gega 346
    2009 Sony Classical 752307
    2009 DG Deutsche Grammophon 477 818-3
    2009 Orfeo 798091
    2009 Camerata Records 15077
    2009 Apex 2564699000
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Aeon 0867
    2009 Lyric LYR 001
    2008 Farao Classics 108036
    2008 Virgin 3499332
    2008 Decca 4756210
    2008 Regis Records 1098
    2008 Warner Classics 4696330
    2008 Orion 83123
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459677
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 Decca 4480922
    2008 Ars Produktion 38015
    2008 Arte Nova 340430
    2008 Hyperion 44331/42
    2008 Biddulph Recordings 80226
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5627412
    2008 Divine Art 25068
    2008 Doremi Records 7926
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93554
    2008 Rca Red Seal 88697201872
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    2007 Haenssler 93206
    2007 Altara Classic 1008
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950416
    2007 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4776579
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    2005 EMI Classics
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    2004 Brilliant 92392
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    2002 Live Classics 204
    2002 Classica d'Oro 4007
    2002 Classica d'Oro 9003
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    2001 Doremi Records 71138
    2001 Arabesque 6753
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63064
    2000 Arabesque Z6748
    2000 Masters of Art 9705
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 68249
    2000 Claves 509005
    2000 Definitive Records 11112
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    1999 EMI Music Distribution 73377
    1999 Chandos 8615
    1999 Grammofono 2000 78858
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 567008
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1998 RCA Red Seal 63267
    1998 Harmonia Mundi 911641
    1998 Philips 456402
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    1997 EMI Music Distribution 56440
    1997 Law Records 014
    1997 Disques Pierre Verany 797021
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    1996 Mercury
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    1996 Philips 454 073-2PB11
    1996 DG Deutsche Grammophon 449611
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    1996 Koch Schwann 318232
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    1996 RCA 68371
    1995 Erato 4509969502
    1995 RCA 62592
    1995 Analekta 3009
    1994 Naxos 550656
    1994 Channel Classics 5493
    1994 BIS 192
    1994 Virgin 545052
    1994 John Marks Records 5
    1993 Hyperion CDA66159
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    1989 EMI 763298-2
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    Opus 111 OPS30-144
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