About this Piece
Terra firma. There is no aqueous imagery here. This is the voice of roaring youth out to impress. Craggy, even mountainous, the Sonata in F-sharp minor opens explosively. Listen especially to the heroic alpine calls of the brief third movement Scherzo, and you will know why Robert Schumann was so impressed by the newcomer who brought this Sonata as a calling card.
A comparison. A musical idol of our teen generation, Justin Bieber, is 21 years old. Brahms, improbably dashing in photographs taken at this stage of his career, was just 19 when he composed this ambitious barnburner.