Johannes Brahms
Sonata No.2, Op.99:

Arranged by Ralph Sauer

Trombone and piano

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2003 / 2020

Score and solo part


Written more than twenty years after his first cello sonata, the Cello Sonata No.2 in F Major Opus 99 by Johannes Brahms has long been a staple of the solo cello repertoire. Both sonatas were written for and first performed by the famous German cellist Robert Hausmann. Originally published in 2003 by Balquhidder Music, this transcription for trombone and piano by Ralph Sauer is actually a second edition of this work.

Other than a few changes in register, an occasional breath mark, and a few omitted accompanimental passages in the trombone part to afford the opportunity of some rest, Sauer’s transcription is almost identical to the original cello version. While faithfully transcribed to be as playable as possible on the trombone, this arrangement requires an experienced trombonist with exceptional flexibility, endurance, and control over dynamics and articulations. As one should expect from any cello transcription for trombone, this piece contains an abundance of passages that are below the bass staff and others which are above the staff on the tenor clef. There are also many arpeggios and intervalic leaps which quickly change register, dynamics, and styles. Perhaps the greatest challenge to this particular transcription is managing all of the technical challenges while maintaining the grace and elegance that many fine cellists regularly bring to their performances of this work.

Ralph Sauer’s transcriptions of the Brahms Cello Sonatas have long been a staple of the trombone repertoire. A great many more trombonists practice these pieces than are able to perform them at a high level. This second edition of the F Major Sonata is well edited, extremely legible, and provides an abundance of empty space on each page in which to write markings. It is available from Cherry Classics as either a physical copy or digital download.

Reviewer: Greg Strohman
Review Published November 29, 2020