DEVELOPMENTThe Development section is by far the least conventional section in a sonata. Typically here, a harmonic instability is going to be present. In measure 56, where the development starts, an ambiguous and flowy figure is in the making, as the clarinet arpeggiates and the piano plays a restatement of Theme 1, now in E flat. This new key is quickly forgotten as the piano abruptly plays forte chords, this moves the tonality back to B flat major and two bars later to G minor. The feeling of these forceful chords changes in measure 63, where the piano moves to descending triplet arpeggios.
This prompts the clarinet to play an erratic, sweeping version of the main theme. This change moves both instruments into tonal areas such as G and D minor. In measure 65, the clarinet suddenly forte-pianos out of the way and plays its lowest note, a concert D.
This concert D pedal continues for a total of seven more times. With the importance of this pedal D, one can assume the tonality has now moved into G minor. But in fact, this assumed tonality will later clash with the piano part. Furthermore, with the clarinet of out the way, it’s the piano’s turn to “shine”. The piano plays an eerie version of Theme 2, and just like back in measure 22, this version of Theme 2 includes several breaks. The main difference about this version of Theme 2 is that it alternates from G minor and D minor. In measure 69, the clarinet reenters as the prominent voice and plays a developed version of Theme 2, a beat later, the piano echos the same rhythm.
From measures 68 – 75, A harmonic progression between G minor and D major can be heard in the piano. The clarinet breaks away from this harmony with a flowy cadence-like gesture. Underneath this gesture, the piano plays chromatic chords. This combination takes both instruments into the key of G major. Beginning at measure 73, Brahms adds an extension in order to prolong the cadence, as well as briefly mentioning Theme 1, now in G major. Accompanying the nod to Theme 1, include cascading left handed triplet intervals from the piano. These triplet intervals from the previously mentioned phrase, serve as a “transition” into new material that has not been seen or heard yet.
This new material begins in measure 78, along with the marking of “dolce”. This new, bouncy and joyous material is passed around beginning with the clarinet, then the piano, then back to the clarinet. Pickups to measure 81, chords and different rhythms begin to clash. The piano no longer has triplets but rather forward moving eighth notes and the clarinet continues with its triplets. In measure 83, the piano moves to a more chromatic harmony and as the piano does this, the clarinet moves to outlining an F sharp major chord with its bouncy triplets. Then suddenly, the triplets quickly shift back to the piano once more.
This move, turns the tonality back to the dominant of F, which is B flat. To further establish the dominant in measure 88, the clarinet reinforces the key by its use of the two-note fall. In measure 89, the climax of the movement has been reached, as the clarinet begins to play Theme 1 in B flat as well as playing animated triplets that also continue on in the piano. Just as we believe that the Development is coming to an end, the use of the forte-piano and the deceptive cadence in measure 93 prolongs this section. To further enhance the instability of this passage, clarinet sprinkles in melodic figures and the piano adds an F sharp pedal tone, which is the dominant of B, which also prolongs the cadence.
All of this instability is briefly ended when the arrival at F sharp major in reached in measure 97. Just as we feel like we have reached a stable point, in measure 98, Brahms decides to shift the tonality to A flat, and then a measure after, Brahms moves it up to B flat. This final key of the Development is securely and immediately established as the dominant of E flat by the use of a pedal B flat. After all of this harmonic drive, this retransition only lasts from measures 99 to 102. But finally, the harmony achieves the desired alleviation. This relief is short lived because as much as this retransition is an ending, it is also preparing to go into the Recapitulation which begins in measure 103. RECAPITULATIONIn a sonata, the Recapitulation is the desired point of arrival.
The Recapitulation responses with the expectations sent forward by the exposition and the development. The beginning of the Recapitulation is introduced by the clarinet playing Theme 1. The piano begins with playing arpeggios in a triplet manner, this is a variation of the first phrase in measure 1. Together, both instruments clash in rhythm, with clarinet playing in a duple meter and the piano playing triplets.
Furthermore, the second phrase is repeated just like in the exposition. In measure 113, the piano echoes the clarinet’s soaring arpeggios. This echo closes off the restatement of Theme 1 and begins the transition. This new transition is vasty different from the one in the exposition as well as in a different tonality. In addition, the harsh piano chords and the restatement of the theme are both omitted. After a short break, the clarinet reenters in measure 117 and plays an amiable triplet phrase. Just as the clarinet does this, the piano restates the theme and moves the tonality down to G flat major. In measure 120, The tonality center shifts once again, now with Theme 2 being in C flat major.
This motion is similar to measure 22 in the exposition but now the two pauses are given a different harmony. The use of this harmony moves the tonality back to E flat major in measure 126, which is the conventional home key of Theme 2. This shift gives the previously mentioned C flat phrase a magical contrast compared to the E flat phrase. Measure 126 also introduces a more lyrical and flowy version to the corresponding measure 28, also in E flat. Furthermore, a low pedal B flat which serves as the dominant note, is added in with all of this. In measure 132, the clarinet drops out as the piano upholds its off beat rhythm as well as its pedal B flat.
The clarinet reenters tenderly and grows into a skyward arpeggio, which the piano imitates a beat later. This imitation takes the piano to an authoritative cadence nod, which can be compared to measure 34. The cadence in measure 138 paves the way to the closing section, which reinforces E flat major. To further reinforce on to this, the piano holds down an E flat pedal note all while rapidly playing triplet arpeggios. These motions can be compared to measure 40. The triplet upward arpeggios settle down and then the piano moves towards the second statement of the closing theme, which is played in octaves and with cascading triplet arpeggios that both instruments pass between one another.
In measure 144, the clarinet suddenly drops out and as soon as this happens, the rhythm in the piano changes to a more detached figure, which briefly mentions G major. The detached figure once again changes to leaping octaves. These octaves lead the tonality towards an E flat cadence. In measure 150, the variant of Theme 1 which lead into the Development is now used once again in order to go into the Coda. Furthermore, the use of the forward moving triplets can be compared to measure 52. CODAThe Coda begins in measure 154 with the arrival of the remote key of E major. In the Coda, we see some material that has not been used since the exposition. For example, we see the same three note figure that lasts until measure 156, just now shifted up a half-step from the original key.
It is important to note that this three note figure was not used in the Development out in the Recapitulation. In addition, we see the same left handed statement of the main theme as well as the shifting between the duplet and triplet rhythm. While the piano is doing all of this, again we see the clarinet changing to a more syncopated rhythm and feeling. In measure 158, Brahms restates Theme 2 but in order to make it different, he syncopates this material. A similar triplet figure can be seen in measures 30 and in 128. In the piano, a continuous flow is felt as the piano continues to play a total of 13 three-note pattern. To furthermore establish this free flowing feeling, Brahms adds the indication of “molto dolce sempre” to both instrument parts.
With both instruments doing with own thing and trailing from one another, in measure 161, the clarinet breaks off and then two beats later, the piano also stops playing. Picks up to measure 162, the dominant B flat chord in the piano supports the home key of E flat major and as a result, the key is shifted towards an E flat cadence. The marking of “Tranquillo” informs us that the piece is coming to an end. This calming down feeling is supported by the right hand as it plays six groups of three note chords which originated from Theme 2. These three note chords are accompanied by the unexpected bouncy triplets in the clarinet, which can be recalled from the Development section in measure 78.
This repeated combination creates the duple against the triplet feeling, an element has been used throughout this whole movement. In measure 166, the triplets are passed to the piano, taking into account this passing around, this section of the Tranquillo resembles the Development. This passage creates a very sweet and easy going atmosphere as it works towards an authentic cadence in measure 170. Pickups to measure 171, the triplets are passed to the clarinet and then, for the last time, the triplets are passed to the piano. During this exchange, a final duple against triplet rhythm is produced when the clarinet plays descending eighth notes. In this last phrase, the tempo and the dynamic have fallen quite dramatically.
The final three chords further establish the key of E flat with the clarinet ending with its lowest chalumeau concert E flat. The movement calmly ends in measure 173.