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Johannes Brahms: Opus 120 No. 1

(Arranger: Luciano Berio)

  • Sonata for Clarinet (or viola) and piano (1894) (1986)
  • transcribed for clarinet (or viola) and orchestra
  • 2 2 2 3 - 3 2 1 0 - timp, str
  • Duration: 25’
  • Soloists:
    clarinet in Bb
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Arranger: Luciano Berio
  • Dedication: a Franco e Barbara Debenedetti, affettuosamente
  • Commission: Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Work introduction

We owe the composition of Brahms’ two clarinet sonatas, Clarinet Trio and Clarinet Quintet to Richard Mühlfeld, the great instrumentalist whom Hans von Bülow had introduced to the composer. Brahms wrote in a letter to Mühlfeld, “I have not been so impulsive as to write a concerto for you.” However, Berio did, in 1986. (His version for viola corresponds to Brahms’, who wrote a viola version since the clarinet was not yet such a common solo instrument at the time). Berio’s orchestration is faithful to Brahms; the result is that the music literature has become richer by two concert works by Brahms.


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Los Angeles (US)
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Main soloists:

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