Violin Sonata

Franz Schubert

Violin Sonata in G minor

D408, Op. posth137/3 • “Sonatina”

About this work

Schubert undoubtedly called all three of these works Sonatas, though they are now usually listed and programmed as Sonatinas, probably due to a whim of his Viennese publisher, Diabelli. A further source of minor confusion is that, though composed in 1816 when the composer was 19, they were not printed until after his death in 1828. Even at that age Schubert was by no means an apprentice composer, and it is difficult to believe that such simple, almost naive, works were written at precisely the same time as his fourth, so-called "Tragic", Symphony: attractive though they are, these essays are more reminiscent of the older, Mozartean type of sonata than of Schubert's hero, Beethoven who, by 1805, had written nine of his ten violin sonatas. But, though the innocent simplicity of the "Sonatinas" adds rather than detracts from their charm, sensible comparisons cannot be made.

No 1 is the most formal of the group -- a graceful work for grateful amateurs -- while the choice of A minor and G minor for Nos 2 and 3 encouraged a somewhat bolder approach. Though they do not rank among Schubert's finest works they offer interesting insights into his complex musical character.