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sonata for violin and piano 

opus number
Burghauser catalogue number
3 March - 17 March 1880 
premiere - date and place
23 September 1880, Chrudim 
premiere - performer(s)
Josef Klimes, Zdenka Havelkova 
main key
F major 
parts / movements
1. Allegro, ma non troppo
2. Poco sostenuto
3. Allegro molto 
approx. 23 min. 

composition history

This is the only surviving work by Dvorak which bears the designation “sonata” (the whereabouts of Dvorak’s previous two sonatas, violin and cello, are unknown today). It was written within fifteen days in March 1880 almost concurrently with his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, and might be described as a kind of intimate counterpart to it. The second movement of the sonata was originally to have been an Adagio in the key of F major, but Dvorak replaced the movement he had already started with a new one (Poco sostenuto, A major), while he later used the original Adagio for his String Quartet in C major. The work was premiered and also published (Simrock) that same year.


first page of the score

general characteristics

The chief quality of the sonata is its lyricism. The thematic material and its treatment are refined and exquisite throughout the sonata cycle. The sound of both these instruments together, even on this small scale, provides yet another example of Dvorak’s fine sense of instrumentation. The first movement is written in sonata form, based on two themes, where the second subject is exposed irregularly in the key of D major. The slow second movement is also created from two fundamental ideas, whose development is shared equally by both instruments. The final movement is again in sonata form, this time with three themes. The main subject, which gives the movement its joyful atmosphere, has a tonal temperament reminiscent of the Slavonic Dances.