Recording: Martin Jones, pianist [NI 1788]

Published 1853.  Dedicated to Joseph Joachim.

Brahms only wrote three piano sonatas, and they are right at the beginning of his career.  The C-major sonata was one of a group of pieces (also including the Sonata Op. 2) the 20-year-old showed to Robert and Clara Schumann at their famous first meeting in 1853.  Robert Schumann was particularly impressed with this bold, virtuosic sonata.  Incredibly difficult and romantic, the sonata was an obvious choice for the composer to present to the world as his Opus 1.  The F-sharp minor sonata, published as Op. 2, was probably actually written earlier than this one.  The opening of the first movement strives for the grandeur of Beethoven and is indeed highly suggestive of that composer’s “Hammerklavier” sontata (Op. 106).  The movement continues through a long, diverse development section and an almost overly exuberant coda.  The slow movement is a small Theme and Variations on an “old Minnelied” or courtly love song (which turned out to be inauthentic).  He even included the text of the song under the score of the theme’s presentation.  Brahms’s great skill at variation form is already evident in this short example.  There are three variations, the last of which is in a warm major key.  The scherzo movement heralds a line of magnificent compositions in that form, which he would curiously somewhat abandon later in his career (about the time of the symphonies).  It is played without a break after the variations, and its main theme is even anticipated in their coda’s last bars.  The finale is the most wild movement, but its thematic connection to the opening of the first movement is very impressive, as is the indecision between the initially prevailing 9/8 meter and the final 6/8.  The sonata is as fine an Op. 1 as could possibly be expected, and although Brahms later tended to be somewhat embarrassed by the overt romanticism and exuberance of his younger works, we can still enjoy them as products of a composer whose style was rapidly approaching maturity as he took up the mantle as Beethoven‘s successor.

ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)--The second page of notation (p. 4) inexplicably displays at a smaller
“single-page view” size.
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke, lower resolution with handwritten measure numbers)--Note measure numbering error in second movement: subtract one bar from the fourth line/system (which should be m. 20) until the end.

1st Movement: Allegro (Sonata-Allegro form).  C MAJOR, 4/4 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Theme 1.  The opening gesture, with its thick chords and decisive rhythm, has been compared to the opening of Beethoven’s huge “Hammerklavier” Sonata (Op. 106).  Already on the second statement of the gesture, Brahms veers to one side of C major with a B-flat.  In the following answer, he moves to the other side with a strong ascent and trill leading to a half-cadence.  This is reiterated three times, moving down two octaves.  A scale speeding from triplets to groups of four then rushes upward, moving to G minor.
0:17 [m. 9]--A new statement of the Theme begins a step lower, on B-flat major.  The preceding G-minor run leads smoothly into its related major key on B-flat.  The two opening gestures are essentially analogous to the first statement, but the answer to these is altered to veer back to C major.  Instead of emerging into a trill, this ascent breaks into syncopated chords leading to a full cadence in the home key.  This comes after the chords lead into a descending arpeggio in octaves.
0:30 [m. 17]--Transition.  The opening gesture of Theme 1 is fragmented and treated in imitation, at a much quieter level.  The left hand leads, and at the top of the following right hand line, the harmony has moved to D minor.  A second statement of this pattern begins a step higher, on the D-minor harmony.  Following the pattern exactly, it ends yet another step higher, on E minor.
0:42 [m. 26]--Another statement of the pattern seems to begin on E, but the gestures are further fragmented and increase in intensity.  The statement tries again to start, this time on B, the “dominant” of E, but this is also arrested by a dramatic buildup and a series of “sighing” syncopated figures that fluctuate between E minor and E major.  These are marked by sharp accents, and they are highly chromatic and unstable.  They emerge into two cadence gestures with broken octaves in both hands that end on a sharp half-cadence in E.
1:00 [m. 37]--The opening rising third that will begin Theme 2 is anticipated twice with two gestures that pivot from E to A minor, where Theme 2 will be heard.  The second gesture is much quieter than the first, and slows slightly as well.
1:06 [m. 39]--Theme 2.  A melancholy and expressive melody with folk-like characteristics.  It is played by the right hand with an undulating broken chord accompaniment in the left.  The left-hand patterns begin off-the beat in each measure, breaking at the bar lines.  The melody slightly and gradually builds.  In its second phrase, it gains right-hand harmonies, the left hand moves to arching arpeggios, and it reaches a high point on a rolled chord.  From there, it settles down and seems to move to E minor.  As the theme winds down, the left hand moves back to its off-beat patterns, now on rising broken chords (A minor).
1:27 [m. 51]--Closing Theme.  Brahms directs that there should be a slight slowing (“Poco ritenuto”), and that the soft pedal should be depressed.  The new melody is played over a “pedal point” on E that is persistent in both hands.  The gently wistful melody itself is played with harmony in thirds by both hands.  The left hand is rhythmically regular, and some of its notes come before the right-hand counterparts, which use some long-short dotted rhythms.  The left-hand pedal point is reiterated on half-beats after the melodic notes.  The one in the right hand consists of longer bell-like notes on the downbeats under the melody.
1:42 [m. 59]--After two phrases of the melody, a new pattern emerges with the hands playing arpeggios in opposite directions.  Brahms marks it sospirando (sighing).  The descending left hand is regular, but the right hand plays three-note groups off the beat, with the second note of each group indicated as melodic, creating a mild syncopation.  In the last two groups, the “melody” shifts to the first right-hand note.  It becomes apparent that the melody is in fact Theme 2.
1:49 [m. 63]--Two new gestures that are nearly identical arise out of the “sighing” melody.  These begin with a left-hand arpeggio leading to a held chord, trailed by a right-hand chord that emerges into a rapid scale run and a “sigh” figure. The second gesture adds some mild dissonance and strongly reiterates the closing “sigh” figure a fourth higher, with a strong supporting chord.
1:58 [m. 67]--After a pause, the left hand plays the rapid run, which now begins with a chromatic half-step turn figure and emerges into a rising arpeggio.  This is imitated by the right hand.  Over the right-hand imitation, the sigh figure is heard.  The rapid run and its imitation are repeated an octave higher, and two more “sigh” figures, also an octave higher, follow above them.  The “sigh” figure then ascends yet another octave as the left hand collapses downward.  This last “sigh” is held over and turns down to a long descending chromatic scale over long-held left hand notes.  Two “sighing” cadence gestures suggest a firm arrival on A minor.
2:12 [m. 75]--The closing theme from 1:27 [m. 51] begins again, this time with the “pedal points” on A, which suggests that the key has moved to D minor.  The final gesture of the first phrase develops into a transition back to the repeat or into the development.  It is repeated an octave higher, then stated again back below.  This then expands upward as the volume and speed rapidly increase.  The “pedal point” slips down to G, the preparatory “dominant” note in C major, and the left-hand notes above it work down by half-step.
2:29 [m. 86, first ending]--The culmination of the buildup is a brilliant group of descending arpeggios in the right hand over two-note rising gestures in the left hand.  The arpeggios then turn around and become even more rapid, expanding to groupings of six to a beat.  These emerge directly into the exposition repeat.
2:32 [m. 1]--Theme 1, as at the beginning.
2:45 [m. 9]--Statement of Theme 1 beginning on B-flat, as at 0:17.
2:57 [m. 17]--Transition.  Fragmentation and imitation leading to D minor and E minor, as at 0:30.
3:10 [m. 26]--Further fragmentation, dramatic buildup, and half-cadence, as at 0:42.
3:28 [m. 37]--Anticipation of Theme 2, as at 1:00.
3:33 [m. 39]--Theme 2.  Expressive folk-like melody, as at 1:06.
3:55 [m. 51]--Closing Theme.  Melody in thirds with pedal points, as at 1:27.
4:09 [m. 59]--Sighing arpeggios with reminiscence of Theme 2, as at 1:42.
4:17 [m. 63]--Two gestures with rapid scale runs and “sigh” figures, as at 1:49.
4:26 [m. 67]--Rapid runs and sigh figures in imitation, chromatic scale, and cadence gestures, as at 1:58.
4:40 [m. 75]--Closing theme  in D minor, expansion and transition, as at 2:12.
4:57 [m. 86, second ending]--This begins like the first ending, but the arpeggios work farther down the keyboard, the volume rapidly diminishes, and the left hand becomes thinner, in contrast to the turnaround and buildup leading into the exposition repeat.
5:01 [m. 88]--The development begins with an expressive canon on the closing theme.  It begins in the middle range, harmonized in thirds, and its top line is followed closely by the right hand an octave higher.  The left hand plays the off-beat pedal point and some neighbor figures under the middle-range line.  As the canon progresses, the top voice begins to play in thirds when the lower voice temporarily drops them, and at least one voice plays these harmonies throughout.  The canon is in the home minor key, C minor.
5:15 [m. 96]--The canon breaks off, and an expressive three-note descent is played twice.  The second time, the accompanying figures become slower (triplet rhythm), and the music diminishes further.
5:22 [m. 100]--In a sudden outburst, a large harmonic motion begins.  The main material is still the closing theme, played in octaves by the left hand, and the right hand begins to play powerful syncopated chords against it.  The music begins to build feverishly.
5:29 [m. 104]--Theme 1 makes an appearance in the left hand while the right hand takes over the closing theme material.  Brief motions are made to A-flat minor and D-flat major as the excitement grows.  A huge arrival on a dissonant “diminished” seventh chord and a strong descending arpeggio doubled in three octaves returns to C minor.
5:40 [m. 111]--Theme 2 now makes its developmental appearance in the left hand, played in ominous octaves.  It is accompanied by sweeping arpeggios passed between the hands and loud interjections of Theme 1 fragments.  As this material continues to build and work higher, with the Theme 2 material becoming more fragmented, the music begins to waver between minor and major.
5:49 [m. 118]--The fragments from Theme 1 become even more feverish as the Theme 2 material drops out.  Now the harmony finally moves away from C, and there is a huge arrival on B minor, a half-step lower, with large left-hand jumps and thick chords, some of which are rolled.
5:58 [m. 124]--Theme 2 again appears in thick left-hand octaves.  Its arrival coincides with the huge B-minor cadence.  The right hand arpeggios now include triplet rhythms, and develop into a distinctive decorative line in the high register.  This decorative line is in the triplet rhythm.  Theme 1 material is heard under the decorative line in a middle voice.
6:04 [m. 128]--The hands reverse roles, the right hand taking the Theme 2 material and the left hand playing the arpeggios, triplet rhythm, and distinctive decorative line.  The entire passage is a third higher than the previous one, and is now on D major.
6:09 [m. 132]--The hands again reverse roles, and the music’s harmony moves up another third, to F-sharp minor.  There, the left hand again plays Theme 2 material while the right hand takes the arpeggios, triplet rhythm, and decorative line.  This time, the decorative line and the Theme 1 material under it build greatly and obtain new harmonies.
6:14 [m. 136]--A bass trill with seven notes breaks up the previous intensification.  It alternates with rising short fragments from Theme 1.  The trill suggests A minor, and the Theme 1 fragments C minor, so the music has built up by thirds from B minor to arrive back home.  The seven-note trill is heard twice, and then the bass breaks into a longer, more regular trill.
6:22 [m. 139]--The last, longer bass trill, which is now in more regular groups of six notes, emerges here into an extremely subdued passage marked dolcissimo.  The material and rhythm are clearly derived from Theme 1.  The hands both play a series of pleasing chords moving up and down the scale, and entirely in contrary motion.  In addition, the top voice of the left hand follows the top voice of the right in a canon.  There are hints at A minor and E minor, but the passage is mostly in G major.
6:31 [m. 145]--Suddenly, the ominous seven-note bass trills interrupt again.  They are now heard a total of four times as the pleasing chords on Theme 1 fragments begin to work downward. 
6:39 [m. 149]--The left-hand trill becomes regular again, with six-note groups, and the right hand works steadily downward with the full, pleasing chords.  The clear arrival on G major after a long-held chord and cadence is even more satisfying because it has been teased and delayed for such a long time.
6:49 [m. 153]--The re-transition begins with a very sweet transformation of Theme 2 beginning in G major.  The right hand plays it, with some counterpoint, while the left hand plays wide, gentle arpeggios.  The second phrase of this Theme 2 presentation moves to B minor.
7:04 [m. 161]--There is now a smooth motion to D major, where Theme 2 is again presented.  This time, the left hand plays it in the middle range with rich two-note “horn fifth” harmonies.  The right hand accompanies with an unexpected element: the decorative line in triplets that was heard when Theme 2 was presented at 5:58 [m. 124].  After two bars, this decorative line is passed to the left hand, which also has it for two bars before passing it back again.
7:11 [m. 165]--The D-major presentation of Theme 2 begins again in an identical manner, but after two bars, it diverges and “stalls.”  The decorative line remains in the right hand, and the “stalled” left hand is harmonized in thirds.  The music becomes more dissonant and suddenly builds greatly, culminating in a huge series of arpeggios in triplet rhythm.  The left hand finally erupts into descending octaves in straight rhythm.  These arpeggios are on a preparatory “dominant” chord,  This chord, however, anticipates not C major, but F major!  The arrival of the recapitulation is thus given an unexpected harmonic coloring.
7:25 [m. 173]--Theme 1.  Although the opening chords are now changed by the addition of the note B-flat, which is consistent with the preceding anticipation of F major, the theme itself is on the same level, and is revealed to be in the home key of C major.  The presence of B-flat from the outset, however, makes its appearance in the second statement less jarring than in the exposition.  From this point, the music precedes as at the beginning, with the trill and reiterated half-cadence.  The rushing upward scale is changed, now in four-note groups from the outset and reaching higher.
7:37 [m. 181]--Transition.  It begins like the statement of the theme at 0:17 and 2:45 [m. 9], but this is now in C minor, on the home keynote.  The opening gesture is now reiterated two more times, moving up a half-step each time. The music then suddenly emerges into the cadence gestures in broken octaves heard just before 1:00 and 3:28 [m. 37].  These are greatly expanded, intensified, and finally fragmented.  They reach a strong cadence on a D-major chord, anticipating the arrival of Theme 2 in C minor.  The entire passage from 0:30 and 2:57 [m. 17] and most of the passage from 0:42 and 3:10 [m. 26] are omitted.
7:58 [m. 196]--Anticipation of Theme 2 moving from G to C minor, analogous to 1:00 and 3:28 [m. 37].  The previous D-major chord is not a clear half-cadence in G, as was the case with the one in E from the exposition, because the chord lacks the colorful “seventh” note typical of a half-cadence.  The pivot to C minor, however, is accomplished in the same manner as the one to A minor was there.
8:04 [m. 198]--Theme 2, presented in C minor.  Other than key, it is analogous to 1:06 and 3:33 [m. 39].
8:26 [m. 210]--Closing theme, analogous to 1:27 and 3:55 [m. 51].  The pedal points are now on G.  Brahms again marks “Poco ritenuto” and directs use of the soft pedal.
8:41 [m. 218]--Sighing arpeggios with reference to Theme 2, analogous to 1:42 and 4:09 [m. 59].
8:48 [m. 222]--Gestures with rapid scale runs and sigh figures, analogous to 1:49 and 4:17 [m. 63].
8:57 [m. 226]--Rapid runs and sigh figures in imitation, chromatic scale, and cadence gestures, analogous to 1:58 and 4:26 [m. 67].
9:11 [m. 234]--Closing theme with pedal point on C, suggesting F minor.  This is analogous to 2:12 and 4:40 [m. 75], but it breaks off and diverges after four bars, which is the point where the coda begins.
9:18 [m. 238]--Brahms introduces a faster version of the closing theme to start the coda.  It is played in quicker notes (“diminution”) by the left hand while the right continues to play the version in longer notes.   It begins a half-step higher than the presentation at the end of the exposition.  Two sequences of this counterpoint, with the faster version in the left hand, move up by a fourth. 
9:23 [m. 242]--For a third sequence up another fourth, the hands reverse.  In the reversal, the right hand plays the faster version in octaves while the left hand takes the slower notes, also in octaves.  This statement begins in E minor.  It is extended to double length, slows down, and builds to a grand climax with left-hand octaves and off-beat right-hand chords.
9:29 [m. 246]--Two descending gestures with extremely powerful chords are followed by four more long chords that work upward.  These gestures move the music to C major for the final flourishes.
9:37 [m. 250]--Theme 1 returns in a grand, heroic manner, with high, thick chords in the right hand and a counterpoint in the left hand derived from the theme’s main material.  This left-hand line is above a series of rolled chords.  Maintaining the line’s continuity over these chords is so difficult that Brahms included an easier version of the left hand here.  The music suddenly pauses on syncopated chords.
9:50 [m. 257]--For continued intensification, the right hand now moves to triplet rhythm in sweeping lines that somewhat resemble the decorative triplet figures from the development section.  The left hand now introduces a galloping dotted (long-short) rhythm against the triplets.
9:57 [m. 261]--The hands reverse, the triplets moving to the left and the dotted rhythm moving to the right.  The final right hand chords are syncopated, and lead to a very satisfying cadence in C major.
10:05 [m. 266]--The cadence merges into the final triumphant statement of Theme 1’s opening gesture.  It is followed by a reiteration in a lower range that is in longer notes, with low bass octaves.  Brahms marks it largamente, and the closing cadence has an almost hymn-like quality.
10:29--END OF MOVEMENT [270 mm.]

2nd Movement: Andante (Small Theme and Variations).  C MINOR, 2/4 time, with two 4/16 and six 3/16 bars.

Text and translation of the
“old German Minnelied” whose first stanza was printed under the variation theme in the score

0:00 [m. 1]--THEME.  Part 1.  Brahms indicates that the theme is “after an old German folk/love song,” and the score includes the text under the first presentation.  The song’s origins are spurious, but it is an effective call-and response structure.  The left hand plays the two bare “calls” (indicated as the “lead singer”), which are set to a simple arching line.  The harmonized (“choral”) responses feature an initial slow leap and a distinctive cadence with a long-short dotted rhythm.  There is a pause after each call and each response.
0:39 [m. 9]--Part 2.  The closing phrase, which is typical of this type of call-and-response structure, has two short turning patterns of long-short-short-long, harmonized in two voices in each hand.  These are followed by a final and more richly harmonized statement of the “response” from Part 1 to close the theme.  Here ends the text underlay in the score.
0:57 [m. 13]--VARIATION 1.  Part 1.  The “call” is now played by the left hand.  The right hand essentially doubles its music, but decorates it with a triplet-rhythm upbeat and then with off-beat echoes.  The first response is varied by the addition of a triplet rhythm in an inner voice and a sharp dissonance (which quickly resolves upward) on the cadence, which is extended a bar. 
1:15 [m. 18]--The second “call” now deviates from the first.  It adds an upper octave and a triplet rhythm to the right-hand echoes, then makes a surprising upward turn and suddenly swells in intensity.  The second response has new and unexpectedly colorful harmony that suggests a shift upward to D-flat major.  It is set an octave higher than the first response.  The cadence pulls back in volume, abruptly restores C minor, and does not include the dissonance.
1:33 [m. 22]--Part 2.  The turning patterns have a rhythmic shift so that the right hand begins after the left hand and off the beat.  The right hand also adds a new and higher accented off-beat note that is held into the next bar. The second pattern adds an upper octave and uses the triplet rhythm for the right hand, as in the second “call.”  The final response has another colorful harmonic motion that includes a striking “diminished seventh” chord.   It also swells greatly in volume.  The suddenly receding cadence is as in the first response, with the triplet and the dissonance, and it is extended a bar as the first response was.
1:52 [m. 27]--VARIATION 2.  Part 1.  The first “call” moves the original melody to the left hand in bass octaves.  The right hand adds a highly decorative line in fast triplet rhythm.  It includes ornaments such as short trills, and it sweeps down the keyboard.  Unexpectedly, the call shifts to G minor, then adds an extra bar that again shifts, now to D minor.  The first “response” moves the decorative triplet line to an inner voice and places the original melody above it.  It begins in a bright B-flat major, but ends in G minor.  The entire response is then restated, shifting the second bar down in both pitch and mood to end in the home key of C minor.  The cadence is sustained for an extra bar, so the entire call-and-response is doubled in length.
2:21 [m. 35]--The pattern of the first “call” is followed for the second, with the shifts to G minor and the extension moving to D minor.  The hands are reversed, though, and the decorative triplet line is now in the left.  The melody of the call, now high in the right hand, is given full harmony for the first time.  In the second response and its repetition, which follow the harmonic pattern of the first responses, the decorative line remains in the left hand, and the right hand melody now adds harmonies that were previously in the left.  The second bar adds a lower harmony to the decorative line, moving the original line to a right-hand inner voice.  The last cadence is not sustained, so this second call-and-response sequence is seven bars.
2:50 [m. 42]--Part 2.  The two turning patterns are given in almost the same form as in the original theme, but with the harmony altered, suggesting A-flat major.  The second one even moves its last note up a step.  This new harmony continues into the last response, but at the long-short rhythm and the cadence, it is moved back to a clear C minor.
3:05 [m. 46]--The entire second part is repeated and varied.  The first turning pattern is heard as before, with the A-flat harmony, but it is notated in 4/16 instead of 2/4.  This is because it is followed by a very unexpected interruption in high, fast, light, and quiet chords.  This interruption is notated in three bars of 3/16 with cross rhythms.  The pattern is repeated for the second turning pattern, which is heard as before, but written in 4/16.  It is followed by another interruption of the light, quiet chords that is parallel to the first one, also notated in 3/16.  This “interruption” ends with a preparation of another key, B-flat (not C minor).
3:19 [m. 54]--For the final response of this highly diverse variation, Brahms returns to the one that ended Part 1, with the decorative phrase in the left hand and the motion from B-flat major to C minor.  It is still not completely identical, however, as it is extended a bar, as was the repetition of the first response with inner right-hand decoration immediately before 2:21 [m. 35].
3:28 [m. 57]--VARIATION 3.  Part 1.  While it is the climax of the movement and makes a dramatic shift to C major (where the movement will end), this variation returns more to the structure of the original theme.  The “call” is marked “con grand’espressione,” and opens in a full-hearted manner.  The triplet rhythm is carried over from the end of the previous variation with internal arpeggios under the right-hand melody, which descends.  The major-key transformation of the original “call” is in left-hand octaves.  The first “response” continues the character of the call, and is not highly differentiated, but it slows to a pause.
3:43 [m. 61]--The second “call” is identical to the first.  The response now makes more of a contrast.  The outline, on different notes, is in both the bass and in the top voice.  It also makes a clear shift to a key heard in Variation 2, A-flat major.  The flowing triplets maintain energy even as the response slows and quiets down, and at the end, they propel it forward into Part 2 of the variation and quickly turn back to C major.
3:59 [m. 65]--Part 2.  The triplet arpeggios continue with cross rhythms under the turning patterns, the second of which is an octave higher.  The music gains momentum during these patterns, and the final response of the variations builds even more, reaching a rapturous level with the melody soaring above.
4:11 [m. 69]--Transition to Coda.  The momentum from the end of Variation 3 carries into a series of undulating chords in triplet rhythm that respond to heavier left-hand chords on the beats.  Four of these series continue to build in volume until at the top, another series of chords plunges downward, creating a harmonized arpeggio.  The left hand trails the chords, bringing the arpeggio down to the bass level.
4:24 [m. 72]--CODA.  The low bass starts to steadily punctuate a low C “pedal point” that will continue until the end.  The level has quieted down considerably.  The opening “call” of the melody is passed in imitation between a left-hand “tenor” voice and right-hand chords.  This happens four times, each one a step lower.  The right hand itself moves down to the tenor range for its fourth quasi-imitation, and the bass “pedal point” slips down to a low octave.  The right hand figures are extended for two more bars, and these last bars include two prominent descending half-steps in long notes.
4:55 [m. 83]--The music has slowed to “Adagio” for the last three bars.  The top voice, in the tenor range, simply reiterates the note C, and the left-hand pedal point drone continues.  The interest lies in the harmonic motion in between these, which includes a chromatic note (B-flat) and anticipates the contour of the main gesture from the Scherzo movement, which Brahms indicates should follow directly with no significant pause.  The final C-major chord, however, should be somewhat sustained before launching forward.
5:13--END OF MOVEMENT [85 mm.]

3rd Movement: Scherzo - Allegro molto e con fuoco; Trio - Più mosso (Scherzo with Trio).  E MINOR, 6/8 time, with trio in 3/4.
0:00 [m. 1]--First strain of scherzo, presenting the powerful main material.  There are three elements to the main idea: a thumping low bass octave, three descending chords, then a faster series of chords that zigzags downward, culminating in two long-short repeated chords and a large downward leap to an octave.  This main idea is followed by two rising scale figures in octaves, each followed by large leaps up and down.  The first remains in E minor, while the second suggests, at the end, a motion to the related G major.
0:07 [m. 9]--The main idea is given again, beginning on G major, but moving quickly to C major (the sonata’s main key).  The two rising scale figures are suddenly much quieter and lighter.  The top long-short figure is now a downward step instead of an upward leap, and the top chord is rolled.  The second rising scale figure builds again and leads back to the “dominant” chord of the home E-minor key.
0:14 [m. 1]--Repetition of first strain.  First presentation of main material.
0:21 [m. 9]--Second statement of the main material in C major.
0:28 [m. 17]--Development of scherzo idea.  Two statements of the main idea that move to D minor and then to F minor.  Both are of moderate volume.
0:35 [m. 25]--The middle element of the main idea with the three descending chords is isolated.  The initial bass note slides upward, and the three chords are powerfully stated in B major (the “dominant” key).  There is then a quiet, lower echo in B minor.  The vacillating between B major and B minor continues as the three chords are given a quicker, swinging rhythm and expanded to two pairs of statements.  The previous pattern is followed, with a loud, higher pair in major and a lower, quiet pair in minor.
0:43 [m. 33]--Despite the last quiet echoes in B minor, the major key wins out.  The bass begins to lightly drum out a broken fifth.  The right hand responds with a series of upbeat four-chord gestures that are clearly in B major.  There are eight of these, all at a subdued volume until a sudden buildup under the last one.  The broken fifth is isolated on the downbeats of each bar.  The chords are dynamic, but their harmony is static.
0:52 [m. 43]--A climax suddenly erupts.  The drumming broken fifths in the left hand are now played with octave doubling.  The high point is a repeated chord leading into a powerful descending arpeggio in octaves with long-short rhythm.  This arpeggio is heard three times, with punctuations from the high, loud chords in between them.  The first two arpeggios already have color notes borrowed from the minor.  The third one makes a full motion not to B minor, but back to the home key of E minor.  It quiets greatly, then isolates its last three notes to successive downbeats.
1:01 [m. 52]--In a type of return or counterstatement, the main idea is played again in the home key.  This time, it is extremely hushed and smooth.  The right hand harmonizes the scherzo melody in pleasing thirds while the left plays a “walking” bass.  The initial idea and the first rising scale figure follow the melodic and harmonic outlines of the opening.  The second rising scale figure is adjusted at the very end to move not to D major, but to an ethereal F-sharp major.  The final rising figure is twice reiterated in an extremely delicate manner in full harmony.  After lingering a bit on a chord, the music suddenly awakens by powerfully repeating the rising scale in octaves, still in F-sharp.
1:14 [m. 65]--In a reversal, a statement analogous to that at 0:07 and 0:21 [m. 9] is heard at a strong and powerful level.  The pattern of the rising scale figures, with the descending notes from the top and the rolled chords, is retained.  The entire passage pivots back home to E, but it is in E major, not E minor, and does not make the expected harmonic shift at the end.
1:21 [m. 73]--Building toward a major climax, Brahms marks the next passage feroce.  It is essentially analogous to 0:28 [m. 17], and moves back to E minor.  The swinging rhythm is in full force for these three adaptations of the main idea.  The left hand, in the tenor range, introduces some imitation to the strong right-hand chords.  The third statement is extended by two bars with rich chords that zigzag downward.
1:29 [m. 81]--The climax finally arrives, marked molto pesante.  Brahms writes a rare triple forte here.  The music is essentially analogous to 0:35 [m. 25], but the chords are now heavily syncopated in both hands, and there is no major-minor alternation.  The syncopation is regular enough to create a hemiola, or a series of four bars that are essentially in 3/4 despite the 6/8 notation.  The climax remains firmly in E minor, despite chromatic half-step motion between the chords.  The chords become broader in the last bar.
1:35 [m. 85]--The closing passage begins with a reminiscence of the dynamic rhythm from 0:43 [m. 33].  It is now heavy and powerful rather than light and skipping.  An octave on the home keynote of E alternates obsessively with a series of thirds that gradually move down.  These emerge into three statements of a distinctive short-short-short-long rhythm that build greatly in tension and still remain anchored to the bass note E.  There are then three isolated, thumping statements of a third supported by a low bass octave.
1:44 [m. 94]--The final passage rounds the highly varied counterstatement by bringing back the descending arpeggios in octaves from 0:52 [m. 43].  They make an unexpected harmonic shift up a half-step and outline an F-major chord (the so-called “Neapolitan” harmony).  The hands are also staggered, with the right hand playing its octaves just after the left.  The F-major arpeggio is marked strepitoso, an Italian adjective denoting an overwhelming, resounding sound.  The arpeggio immediately turns back to the final three punching E-minor chords to end the Scherzo.  A one-bar pause precedes the transition to the Trio.
TRIO (C Major) - Più mosso, 3/4 time
1:51 [m. 101]--A brief “lead-in” uses the notes E and G to bridge smoothly to C major for the Trio.
1:55 [m. 103]--Part 1.  The trio is expressive, but restless.  The ascending scale with which it begins is propelled forward by a constantly undulating middle voice.  The left hand is quite static, holding octaves and fifths at first.  The scale melody turns around and comes down in a slower long-short rhythm.
2:03 [m. 111]--As the scale melody begins again at a higher level, the left hand adds a counterpoint, also a rising scale, in its top voice.  The music builds up rapidly and is suddenly arrested on a dissonant “diminished seventh” chord.  It recedes again, but the top melody begins to turn and hover at this level over foreign and colorful harmonies in the long-short rhythm.  The key center moves to G minor and major.  Brahms marks this melancholy turn dolente.  The turning, hovering music lingers for a second repetition.
2:13 [m. 123]--The melancholy turning and hovering appears to begin again, but it makes a new downward turn at the end, and the left hand then immediately repeats the last four notes in a lower octave.  The same four-note long-short pattern, now a fourth lower, is again passed from the right hand to the left.  Finally, the pattern is reduced to two notes, and the left hand breaks its imitation with a downward leap.  The last two-note pattern in the right hand is stretched out, and another left-hand leap down leads into the repeat.
2:25 [m. 103]--Part 1 repeated.  The previous passage has shifted back to C major.  First scale pattern, as heard at 1:55.
2:33 [m. 111]--Left-hand counterpoint, rapid buildup, dissonant chord, and melancholy hovering, as at 2:03.
2:44 [m. 123]--New downward turn, left-hand imitation, and bridge, as at 2:13, now leading into the Part 2.
2:57 [m. 137]--Part 2.  In a sort of counterstatement, the initial scale pattern is heard in nearly its original contour, but transformed to C minor instead of major.
3:05 [m. 145]--The pattern with the left-hand counterpoint, buildup, and dissonant chord seems to begin in the minor key, but instead of the “melancholy hovering,” the music moves steadily down in the long-short rhythm and makes a harmonic shift to a new key, A-flat major, as it recedes.
3:12 [m.153]--In no less than five statements, a cadence pattern that pulls strongly to A-flat is reiterated, but the actual arrival on the A-flat chord is repeatedly thwarted.  These cadence pattern statements become more emphatic, with heavier accents, higher notes, and a steady buildup in an extended long-short rhythm.
3:19 [m. 161]--The final statement of the cadence pattern is expanded into a transition leading back to the main scale melody of the trio section.  This transition builds up rapidly and moves upward by half-steps, with corresponding and steady motion in the harmony, all leading back to C major for the climactic arrival.
3:27 [m. 169]--The main scale melody returns at a high point, with full harmony and with its motions doubled in the left hand.  The long chords are given huge preparatory rolls.  Through all of this, the undulating middle voice has never paused, and continues to propel the music forward.
3:34 [m. 177]--The pattern with the left-hand counterpoint begins, moving toward a huge climax.  The harmony matches the counterstatement in Part 2 rather than the melancholy turning and hovering from Part 1.  There is even a strong suggestion of another motion toward A-flat.  Brahms marks this climax with a large hemiola, grouping the music in larger units of implied 3/2 on top of the 3/4 meter.  The harmonies are highly chromatic, with much half-step motion in the high top voice and in the bass chords.  The climax is followed by an extremely full-hearted cadence with a joyous C-major arrival.
3:44 [m. 189]--Under the C-major arrival, the left hand, in its inner harmony, plays notes that unmistakably refer to the three elements from the Scherzo’s opening, all as the undulating inner-voice harmonies continue and move down, receding from the climax.  The “zigzag” pattern is isolated in the bass, repeated, and then moved down twice by thirds.  Under these last motions, both hands are pared down to single lines, the right  hand reaching a steady undulation on a third, C-E, interpreted by the bass line as C major, then A minor.
3:58 [m. 207]--The preceding passage has become steadily quieter.  Now the music becomes slower as well, both through an actual slowing and through longer notes.  The undulation, which has been present since the trio’s opening, now slows to four notes (rather than six) in one bar, then to two bars with three notes, all over an unstable low bass note (F) that appears to still suggest A minor.  The last bar of the transition is suddenly marked “Presto,” and is a loud seven-note descending scale in both hands, leading to the initial bass octave of the Scherzo.  The last bar of the transition is m. 210.
4:02 [m. 1] --First strain.  Presentation of main material, as at the opening and at 0:14.
4:10 [m. 9]--Second statement of the main material in C major, as at 0:07 and 0:21.  The first strain is not repeated in the reprise.
4:17 [m. 17]--Development of the scherzo idea moving to D minor and F minor, as at 0:28.
4:24 [m. 25]--Isolation of three descending chords with echoes in B major and B minor, as at 0:35.
4:32 [m. 33]--Four-chord upbeat gestures over the constantly drumming bass broken fifth, as at 0:43.
4:41 [m. 43]--Climax with repeated chords and descending arpeggios moving back to E minor, as at 0:52.
4:50 [m. 52]--Hushed counterstatement begins with motion to F-sharp, as at 1:01.
5:02 [m. 65]--Powerful statement moving to E major, as at 1:14.
5:09 [m. 73]--Buildup to climax, feroce, with swinging rhythm and left-hand imitation, as at 1:21.
5:17 [m. 81]--Climax with syncopation, half-step motion, and hemiola, as at 1:29.
5:23 [m. 85]--Closing passage with obsessive alternation, distinctive rhythm, and isolated thirds, as at 1:35.
5:33 [m. 94]--Strepitoso F-major descending arpeggio, then final E-minor chords, as at 1:44.
5:45--END OF MOVEMENT [210 (+100) mm.]

4th Movement: Finale - Allegro con fuoco (Rondo form).  C MAJOR, 9/8 and 6/8 time.
0:00 [m. 1]--Part 1 (a).  Although the character is changed, with a galloping left hand and sharp, rolled punctuating chords (often on the weakest beats), it is immediately apparent that the melodic outline is the same as that of the first movement’s main theme.  Only at the point where the earlier theme had veered off with a B-flat does this melody diverge.  It is richly harmonized with thirds and then with lower octaves.  Perhaps making reference to the Scherzo, the melody moves to E minor at the climax, which is then changed to E major.  Part 1 ends there with heavy syncopations on full chords in both hands, then treacherous octave jumps.  The first ending settles down in a two-bar extension, creating a fourteen-bar unit.
0:20 [m. 1 (15)]--Rondo Theme, part 1 (a) repeated.  Without the two-bar extension, it is twelve bars long.
0:36 [m. 13, second ending]--Part 2 (b).  It begins with a cascading motion, initially harmonized in thirds, but then expanded to fifths and sixths.  The left hand adds leaping upbeat separations between statements of the plunging motion.  These are heard in three new keys, A major, D minor, and F major.  The left-hand  bass upbeats now resemble the opening of the theme.  The descending figures are abbreviated, and the music moves back to C major over another heavy syncopation and an unexpected “extra” thirteenth bar.
0:53 [m. 26]--Part 3 (a’).  It is very similar in shape and length to Part 1, but there are changes to the harmony, as well as a two-bar extension before the climax, so that the music will remain at home in C to reach closure.  The climax is in C major, but in a reversal from Part 1, it changes to C minor.  Another shift back to major occurs at the heavy syncopations and octave jumps.  The two-bar extension for settling down is retained from the first ending, giving Part 3 sixteen total bars.  It shifts to the “dominant” key, G major.
1:14 [m. 42]--Part 1 (c).  The melody is songlike, and richly harmonized with full chords.  The left hand plays distinctive arching arpeggios separated by bass notes.  The grouping of the rhythm creates a hemiola, where the melody sounds as if it were in 6/8 despite being notated in 9/8.  Extensions to cadences at the end of the two phrases briefly restore the 9/8 pulse before the next phrase begins.  The melody arches up and back down.  The second phrase makes a definite turn to D major (the “dominant” key of G major).
1:27 [m. 51]--Part 2 (d).  Moving immediately back to G major and beginning on an upbeat, falling figures in a long-short rhythm are passed from the right hand to the left in imitation (canon).  These figures arch back upward.  They retain the 9/8 grouping throughout after the implied 6/8 of Part 1, and are generally more subdued.  After two arching lines of imitation, they are abbreviated to only the opening fall, but are still passed from the right hand to the left until they gain lower harmonies, build slightly, break the imitation, and slow to a pause before the return of the c material.
1:42 [m. 60]--Part 3 (c’).  The first phrase is stated as it was before, but the second phrase, rather than moving to D major, makes an unexpected buildup, diverges from its previous presentation, and reaches a somewhat dissonant pause.  There follow four strong interjections that resemble the cadences used for the phrases of this section.  These interjections are harmonically active, and gradually move toward C major.
2:01 [m. 73]--Part 4 (c”).  The pattern of Part 1 is followed closely, but now the first phrase is in C major and the second phrase, following the logical harmonic pattern, moves to the “dominant,” which is now G major, the main key of this contrasting section.  The previous cadence is given a long extension, being passed from higher to lower statements and expanding outward, building steadily.  It would be expected that this extension, which reaches quite high and slows down, would move to C major for the return of the Rondo Theme, but instead it comes to full completion with a cadence in G major.
2:24 [m. 87]--The Rondo Theme quietly begins in the “wrong” key, G major.  The initial statement is interrupted by the familiar accented off-beat chords, and the abbreviated opening gesture moves downward, with the same interruptions, as the bass line descends steadily, to F, E, D, and finally to C.  Once the home key is reached, the melody is not at the same level it was at the opening.  With all of this active motion, a steady buildup in intensity has occurred, and after C major returns, the high top chords make a dramatic outburst and a shift to E minor/major, where the last eight bars of the theme’s first part (without the two-bar extension) are presented exactly as at the opening.  The second and third parts are not heard here.
2:51 [m. 107]--Part 1 (e).  The meter makes its first change to 6/8, which will gradually take over for the previously dominant 9/8.  This second contrasting theme has the character of an old folksong and is in fact based on a Scottish folk melody.  It is strongly played, mostly in block chords, in two regular phrases.  The A-minor key is relative to the home key of C major.  The second phrase adds chromatic color notes that make hints first at A major, then at C-sharp minor before turning back.  The last two bars are quietly echoed.
3:11 [m. 125]--Part 2 (f).  The meter shifts back to 9/8, but the material is still that of the “Scottish folksong.”  The left hand begins a pattern with a bass note on the downbeat leading to higher repeated notes for the rest of the bar.  The right hand chords are exceedingly passionate, but quiet.
3:19 [m. 130]--The left hand leaves the repeated-note patterns and plays flowing arpeggios.  The right hand melody and chords become quieter and more gentle.  The key turns to D minor, F major, and finally E minor.  At the point where E minor is reached, the right hand plays chords in “straight” triple meter (implied 3/2), going against the prevailing 9/8 rhythm in the left hand.  These chords begin to build in intensity.  They reach higher, arriving at a strong cadence in E minor, with a turning decoration in the left hand.  The left hand then rapidly turns back down and back to A minor.
3:33 [m. 139]--Part 3 (e’).  The 6/8 meter returns.  The original “Scottish” theme is heard.  This time, the left hand plays as before, but an octave lower.  The right hand is much higher, but it plays the theme upside down, in “inversion.”  The harmonies and patterns of both phrases follow the statement at 2:51 [m. 107].  Halfway through the second phrase, the right hand turns the theme back in the original direction, but now an octave higher.  The hands have great separation between them.  This second phrase is extended by a bar, and instead of the original turn back to A minor, it moves to a strong and unexpected cadence on F major.
3:51 [m. 155]--In a transitional passage, the left hand leads the right in upward sweeping gestures that emerge into a similar cadence to the one just heard, but a step higher, on G major.  The same process seems to begin again, but the chords trail off and slow down, using straight rhythm and unstable “diminished seventh” harmonies.  With the left hand leading, they reach a pause on an unstable A-minor half-close.
4:12 [m. 173]--The unstable chord makes a “deceptive” resolution onto F major, where the Rondo Theme again begins quietly in the “wrong” key.  Now begins a dizzying series of alternations between themes and meters.  Two 9/8 bars of the Rondo Theme in F major are suddenly interrupted by three bars of the “Scottish” contrasting melody in 6/8, also in F.  The left hand keeps a steady, drumming pattern going through both elements.  This alternation now happens successively in A, D, and finally the home key of C.  In the last two of these, the 6/8 “Scottish” material is reduced to two bars.  There is a very gradual and steady buildup through all of these changes of keys, themes, and meters.
4:32 [m. 191]--The C major here is now flavored with the foreign note B-flat and thus comes closer to the material from which the theme was derived, the main theme of the first movement.  Other than this B-flat, what happens now is very similar to the end of the second Rondo Theme statement, with the dramatic shift to E minor/major and the last eight bars of the theme’s first part.  The last six of these bars, however, while still in E, shift the top melody up first by a step, then by a third for the syncopated chords.  The final octave jumps are at the original level.
4:46 [m. 201]--Part 2 (b) as heard at 0:36 [m. 13b].
5:03 [m. 214]--Part 3 (a’), as heard at 0:53 [m. 26], for the first five bars.  An ascending scale in octaves is then altered from its first appearance, with a greater range and more half-steps, beginning the lead-in to the coda.
5:11 [m. 220]--Transition to coda.  The left hand begins to play the repeated notes associated with Part 2 (f) of the second contrasting theme.  The right hand, marked molto agitato, plays fragments from that same material, including some bars of implied 3/2.  The intensity increases dramatically.  Brahms briefly shifts the music down a half-step to B major, but quickly moves back up to C right as the coda is about to begin.
CODA--Presto non troppo ed agitato
5:20 [m. 228]--The meter makes a final shift to 6/8, where it will remain until the end.  Brahms shifts the tempo up to “Presto” and begins an exciting series of accented chords and melodies over a left hand that plays mostly arpeggios and arching runs in three-note groups.  A soaring melody, supported by rich chords, is marked con grand’espressione.  As this melody reaches an extremely full-hearted cadence in its second phase, a clashing “straight” rhythm is again employed, this time implying 2/2 over the 6/8 meter. 
5:33 [m. 248]--The music shifts up a fourth for another statement of the accented chords and the soaring melody.  This places the first phrase of the soaring melody in F major, making one last emphasis of the “foreign” B-flat whose influence was felt at the sonata’s beginning.  The accented chords leading into the melody’s second phrase shift upward and back to C major, where the phrase and its cadence with “straight” rhythm are heard an octave higher than before.
5:47 [m. 269]--The left hand and right hand now alternate on the running line.  The hand not playing the running line plays sharp, accented, and sometimes rolled (in the left hand) chords.  This alternation happens four times, with each hand taking the running line twice.  The last alternation, with the right hand on the running line, is expanded toward a cadence and “arrival point” before the last references to the Rondo Theme.
5:56 [m. 282]--The sonata ends with clear references to the Rondo Theme, but it is changed to fit the 6/8 meter of the coda.  Three references to the theme, building in pitch, volume, and harmony, lead to the final chords, the last of which is given an emphasis by a rapid reiteration.
6:25 (runoff after 6:10)--END OF MOVEMENT [292 mm.]