The Viola Sonatas, Op. 120, Nos. 1 and 2, are a pair of works written for clarinet and piano by the Romantic composer Johannes Brahms. They were written in 1894 and are dedicated to the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld. The sonatas stem from a period late in Brahms’s life where he “discovered” the beauty of the sound and tonal colour of the clarinet. The form of the clarinet sonata was largely undeveloped until after the completion of these sonatas, after which the combination of clarinet and piano was more readily used in composers’ new works. These were the last chamber pieces Brahms wrote before his death and are considered two of the great masterpieces in the clarinet repertoire. Brahms also produced a frequently performed transcription of these works for viola with alterations to better suit the instrument.
Brahms: Sonatas for Viola, Op. 120
For Viola and Piano