Edvard Grieg composed the Cello Sonata in A minor, Op. 36, his largest chamber work, in 1883, marking a return to composition following a period when he had been preoccupied with his conducting duties at the Bergen Symphony Orchestra as well as illness.
Grieg dedicated the piece to his brother, John, a keen amateur cellist. Ludwig Grützmacher premièred the work with Grieg at the piano on 22 October 1883 in Dresden.
The sonata has three movements:
- Allegro agitato
- Andante molto tranquillo
- Allegro molto e marcato
The work takes approximately 25 minutes to perform.
Grieg later made disparaging remarks on the sonata. In his opinion it didn't show any progress compared to his earlier chamber music works (e.g. the String Quartet, Op. 27). An analysis of the sonata shows that Grieg to a certain extent might have been justified in his criticism.
Gary Karr arranged the sonata as a double bass concerto on his album Virtuoso Double Bass.
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