Edvard Grieg

Sonata for violin & piano No. 1 in F major, Op. 8

    Description by Blair Johnston

    It was almost certainly his friendship with Norwegian violin superstar Ole Bull that prompted Edvard Grieg to compose the first of his three violin sonatas, the Sonata for violin and piano No. 1 in F major, Op. 8 (1865). Grieg had met Bull many years earlier -- as a teenager with no formal musical training -- and the experience left a real mark on young Grieg. Indeed, it was because of Bull's encouragement that Grieg's parents sent him off to conservatory. But perhaps more vital to the instigation of composing a violin sonata was a summer (1864) that Grieg spent at Ole Bull's home, playing through chamber music with the eccentric virtuoso.

    For the casual music-lover, who in all likelihood knows Grieg only through the Peer Gynt music and the Piano Concerto, this early sonata will perhaps not sound completely foreign, but neither will it seem, at first hearing anyway, much like it was penned by the composer of those famous concert-hall works. For Grieg, chamber music was not a very comfortable area of toil, and throughout the Op. 8 sonata the voice of his model, Schumann, sings loud and true, nearly as loudly as does Grieg's own. Still, Grieg's gift for concocting lovely and compelling melodies, and for supporting them with flavorful and striking harmonies, make it a very worthwhile effort for all involved. Franz Liszt certainly admired the piece a great deal, having written to the composer in 1868, to tell him so. The sonata is in three movements: Allegro con brio, Allegretto quasi andantino -- più vivo -- Tempo I, and Allegro molto vivace.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Allegro con brio
    2. Allegretto quasi Andantino
    3. Allegro molto vivace

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Delos DE 3523
    2017 Pavane ADW 7585
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795964
    2015 Audite AUDITE 97707
    2015 Aevea AE 15010
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94642
    2013 Naxos 8573137
    2013 Azica Records ACD 71283
    2012 Entertainment Group 12608
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099994763
    2011 Dynamic DM8016
    2011 Simax PSC 1315
    2010 Claves 501002
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926413
    2008 Corona Classics 0002642CCC
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93516
    2007 Challenge Classics 72171
    2007 Centaur Records 2873
    2007 Camerata Records 28086
    2007 Centaur Records 2886
    2007 EMI Classics 5738192
    2006 Hyperion 67504
    2006 Brilliant 93030
    2004 Brilliant 92176
    2004 Testament 1344
    2002 Arabesque 6759
    2002 Harmonia Mundi HMA195 1492
    2001 Simax 1162
    2001 Dynamic 278
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 907256
    1999 Claves 508808
    1998 Berlin Classics 0021 032BC
    1997 Koch 7419
    1997 Naxos 553904
    1996 Cambria 1076
    1996 Dorian 90234
    1995 Curb 78009
    1995 Kontrapunkt 32195
    1995 Tall Poppies 067
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 901492
    1994 BIS 647
    1993 Bridge 9026
    1993 Biddulph Recordings LAW008
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 437525
    1993 Chandos CHAN9184
    1993 Orfeo 47831
    1992 Le Chant du Monde 288042
    Russian Revelation 10016
    Victoria 19070
    Brilliant Classics 93516/6
    Brilliant 93030/8
    Arlecchino 34
    XXI 1632