Richard Wagner (1813–1883) Sonata in Bb major Op. 1
Respectfully dedicated to Theodor Weinlig, the choral master and music director of the Thomasschule in Leipzig
24 pages | 23 x 30,5 cm | 92 g | ISMN: 979-0-004-17501-9 | Softcover
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is rightly considered as the 19th-century music dramatist whose formal and harmonic originality, for example in “Tristan and Isolde”, provided a significant impetus to the development of 20th-century music.
Despite Wagner’s fame, his reuvre for piano remains practically unknown. Tobe sure, these primarily early works and occasional compositions hardly even hint at the outstanding characteristics of the later works such as leit-motifs, flowing transitions or original forms. Nonetheless, whoever is acquainted with Wagner’s later music dramas will undoubtedly not fail to be impressed by the individual melodic and harmonic traits of his piano works.
The Sonata in B-flat Major Op. 1 is of special interest to us today since it is Wagner’s first published work, composed in 1831 and printed in 1832 by Breitkopf & Härtel. At that time, Wagner was studying counterpoint with Theodor Weinlig, the choral master and music director of the Thomasschule in Leipzig. Weinlig, however, only agreed to give Wagner lessons if he promised to refrain from composing for half a year. In the course of his studies, Wagner was allowed to compose the piano sonata in B-flat Major as a kind of “journeyman-work”. His teacher Weinlig succeeded in having the work published by Breitkopf & Härtel. Hence the dedication of this piece to Weinlig is not surprising, since the 18-year-old Wagner would otherwise have had great difficulty finding a publisher.
This Sonata in B-flat Major, which has long been out of print, is a reproduction of the first edition by Breitkopf & Härtel (plate number 10433). For this reprint, obvious typographical errors have been corrected (missing or wrong accidentals and dynamic indications). The work presents a four-movement classical sonata form and is stylistically reminiscent of Mozart and Beethoven.
Shortly before composing this sonata, Wagner wrote a piano reduction of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was easily playable and yet gratifying to hear. This helps explain the octave-doublings typical of piano reductions.
Wiesbaden, Fall 1980