Best Violin Sonatas of All Time

Composers have been writing for the violin for hundreds of years and the repertoire spans beyond impressive musical, instrumentation, and creative innovation. It also includes sonatas as one of its most versatile categories. Traditionally, sonatas are composed in a variety of mediums and can be written for different types of instruments. In this example, it is a style of chamber music which typically consists of two solo instruments: violin and piano.

Sonatas are intimate, collaborative pieces with tons of virtuosic skills. They are a favorite of recitals, concerts in small groups and for recording projects. The requirement for students of the violin is often to play a few Sonatas. Composers have also, in the past century, begun branching out and stretching the definition of what a sonata is. There are now works for violin and another instrument in place of the traditional piano part, or “solo sonatas.” Writing a solo sonata can be challenging but it provides composers with an opportunity to explore new sounds and ideas.

Below, you will find my favorite examples of this extensive category, and it’s not just a bunch of simple songs- (it’s) full of complex and edgy tracks. I’ve picked this list of the best violin sonatas, and these are the works I find most representative of what’s commonly referred to as classical violin sonata for professional and personal reasons. I’ve also tried to select works that cover a range of skill levels, from beginner to expert.

Top Violin Sonatas Review

Below, you’ll find my favorite violin sonatas from a range of musical eras and composers, and I believe I’ve given a few good suggestions on good performers. And I hope you’ll give them a listen and get inspired by their picks.

1. Sonatas And Partitas For Solo Violin

  • Composer: J.S. Bach

  • Time period: Baroque

  • Year: 1720

  • Instrumentation: Solo violin

  • Favorite recording: 1982, for Teldec

Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin are some of the most essential pieces written for violin. Etudes are short pieces of music that you can learn by ear and play to improve your skills. They connect the different pieces of music together and are helpful for playing violin more quickly. As such, they’re essential pieces for any violinist and anyone looking to improve their skills.

This performance features an extraordinarily creative and beautiful body of work. Many people spend a lot of time trying to get these stories right.

2. Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 In A Major, “Kreutzer Sonata”

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Time period: Classical

  • Year: 1803

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong, 2017

Right now, Ludwig van Beethoven is still one of the most famous composers in the world and his music is played on stage throughout the year. Today, he’s best known for his violin sonatas, which capture and complement some of his other chamber works.

In the course of his career, he wrote 5 sonatas for violin and piano, and No. 9 now is perhaps the most famous. This incredibly virtuosic work is every bit as emotionally nuanced as some of Mozart’s best-known pieces with a level of difficulty that is reserved for the serious musician. This composition has excellent melodic patterns and its dissonance is thought-provoking.

James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong have made it a life project of their careers to perform and record the entire 10 sonatas, which is an utter joy to hear.

3. Sonata In E Minor, K. 304 In E Minor

  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Time period: Classical

  • Year: 1778

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Hilary Hahn and Natalie Zhu, 2005

Mozart wrote a lot of violin sonatas in his lifetime, but K. 304 is the only one he composed in minor mode (minor key). It’s a beautiful example of the classical style, and has been for almost 400 years. It’s used in many other types of music as well and always manages to pack a powerful emotional punch. This is required listening for any student of the violin.

4. Violin Sonata No. 1 In G Major, Op. 78, “Regensonate”

  • Composer: Johannes Brahms

  • Time period: Romantic

  • Year: 1879

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang, 2014

The gorgeous ending of the piece itself is unique and orchestral in influence. The piece also contains personal elements that help make it so special. One of the reasons that this piece has been loved by violin students and concert audiences alike is because it’s grand, regal, and deeply human.

5. Violin Sonata No. 1 In A Minor, Op. 105

  • Composer: Robert Schumann

  • Time period: Romantic

  • Year: 1851

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich, 1986

Hundreds of years after playing his tiniest role in introducing whole new worlds of romanticism to the world, Brahms’ influence was still huge but I think we should not forget about Schumann who developed his own amazing voice and brought a lot to us-characters, colors and all. I recommend you listen to the other violin sonatas if you enjoy listening to the A Minor Sonata.

6. Suite Op.6 For Violin And Piano

  • Composer: Benjamin Britten

  • Time period: 20th century

  • Year: 1936

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Janet Sung and William Wolfram, 2019

Composers from the Romantic era gave us lush swaths of romance, whereas the 20th century was distinctly weird and rebellious. British composer Benjamin Britten took inspiration from his predecessors’ techniques and used them in a unique way. Suite for Violin and Piano has a lot of complexity and weight to the content. In general, Britten is known for his orchestral pieces, but this song is also worth listening too.

7. Six Sonatas For Solo Violin, Op. 27

  • Composer: Eugène Ysaÿe

  • Time period: 20th century

  • Year: 1923

  • Instrumentation: Solo violin

  • Favorite recording: Tai Murray, 2012

Following in the footsteps of Bach’s solo sonatas, Ysaÿe wrote six violin sonatas. They’re difficult and a delight to listen to. Performing these pieces live is incredibly difficult and technically demanding, but the ones who do it pull something truly magical out of it.

8. Violin Sonata No. 2 In D Major, Op. 94a

  • Composer: Sergei Prokofiev

  • Time period: 20th century

  • Year: 1943

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich, 1992

Prokofiev was a famously influential composer of his time. His violin sonatas were in keeping with the tradition, but also in his own Soviet-influenced style. Written in World War II, the D Major Sonata takes listeners through a huge range of emotions before ending on a surprisingly positive note, most surprising when considering the circumstances at that time.

9. Violin Sonata, Op. 34

  • Composer: Amy Beach

  • Time period: Romantic

  • Year: 1896

  • Instrumentation: Violin and piano

  • Favorite recording: Klugherz-Timmons Duo, 1997

Amy Beach has been misjudged for most of her life because of her gender. However, musicians are beginning to bring her works to the stage and audiences are really excited about it. The Violin Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven is written in the romantic style, and cannot be clearly defined as any one genre. However, through her work we get a glimpse of her own unique voice in contrast with the era of which she lived.

10. Rhapsody No. 1 And No. 2

  • Composer: Jessie Montgomery

  • Time period: 21st century

  • Year: 2014 & 2020

  • Instrumentation: Solo violin

Jesse Montgomery’s Rhapsody for solo violin sounds similar to the style of sonatas to my ear. I love these pieces for their weirdness and sweeping grace and hope they get even more popular in the future when it comes to performances.

Types of Violin Sonatas

There are a lot of different styles of violin sonatas and these have been around for centuries – generally speaking, they vary in style from time period to time period. Here are a few examples:

Baroque Period

Baroque music is usually written in the 1600’s-1750’s and typically bridges the gap between Renaissance music and more “modern” classical/romantic style music. It is considered to be one of the first examples of a tonal system that became familiar to us today. Famous composers include people like J.S. Bach, Claudio Monteverdi, George Frederick Handel and Giuseppe Tartini.

Classical Period

1700-1820 is the Classical period, which features a looser texture and more buoyant style than Baroque music. String quartets and other forms of chamber music are popular today, made possible by composers like Haydn and Mozart. A sonata is a piece for solo instruments that’s a musical work in which one part provides the accompaniment(s).

Romantic Period

Classical music from this period was emotionally stirring and romantic. This is the era that revolutionized classical music, and now it’s an integral part of popular culture. Composers like Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Schubert, Paganini, and many more became popular during the 1800s with the increased popularity of existentialist thought. They were also very in tune with nature’s beauty and constantly sought to surrender themselves to nature. The sonatas from that time are exemplary of these characteristics.

20th Century

It was the 20th century, and compositions changed a lot. While romantic composers continued to produce conventional compositions, others were producing some highly experimental music without following any norms. From this time, Sonatas were incredibly diverse and they began to expand or destroy the traditional definitions of the genre entirely.

21st Century

Popular composers are collaborating with others in many other genres, developing new works. Newer and more challenging pieces are such a common occurrence that even older classics are being innovated upon. The progress classical music has made is incredible.

Best Violin Sonatas Composers

Many composers experiment with different genres of music at some point in their career, but they don’t all feel satisfied in the same way. Composers are an incredibly diverse group to be categorized in any specific way, but there are a few who stand out from the rest.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Beethoven is one of the best-known composers in history, and it’s not unjustified. His works are deeply human, complex, and joyful, and his sonatas are incredible examples of his brilliance. Composers like the ones that followed Sonatas are influenced by its design. The classical and romantic periods can be seen from within this work, as well as shades of a bridge between them in its progression.

Johannes Brahms

Brahms wrote beautiful compositions. It was a strange feeling when I heard one of my favorite pieces being performed an talented professionals. Most violinists told me that the moment they did, their decision to pursue music as a career became certain.


One of my personal favorites from this short list is Sergei Prokofiev’s sonata. It takes the technologies and techniques from works written before and then totally changes them. They’re exuberant, heartbreaking, incredibly virtuosic, and wholly unique to Prokofiev.


There are an array of violin sonatas showcased in this genre; they span all genres and historical periods and they all sound great. Whether you’re looking for experimental contemporary work or a romantic piece, you can find it on this list.

I love to find recordings that feature both the violinist and the pianist as these recordings can be on par with chamber music pieces in their own right, and not just a violin solo line alongside a piano accompaniment.

If you’re playing a baroque sonata, you can hear the conversation that’s taking place between the two instruments. And due to this unique feature in sonatas, they’re fun to listen to! Let me know where you like the list of sonatas and then I can add them to my account. Also, please like and share this blog post so more people can find it and start their musical journey!

FAQ for Best Violin Sonatas

What Makes a Great Violin Sonata?

Learning about different violin sonatas is interesting. It’s possible to find musical styles in this category that are great and others that aren’t as much.

Usually, the best pieces of music have a range of emotions. They can share love and sadness with you, they can transport you to another world, or make you feel like you’re in the middle of something exciting. It’s only natural that I would be drawn to work with a spectrum of emotion and artistically-rich content.

What is the best violin sonatas?

A few great choices for sonatas are some by Bach, Bruch’s, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. The list goes on but you’ll have to listen to each one to find out which one you prefer!

What is the best violin sonatos for a beginner?

“Ode to Joy” by Beethoven is a great violin song that requires basic knowledge of the stringed instrument. Many people can recognize this song by ear, and it sounds really impressive when played on just the D string in the first position.

What is the most popular violin song?

One of the most popular violin songs is J.S. Bach’s Chaconne from his Partita No. 2 for Violin, which is easily recognizable and has been performed by many prominent violinists over time. It’s an instrumentless piece, meaning that nobody else plays along with you while you play it (unlike a piano solo).

What are violin sonatos called?

There are a few different kinds of violin sonatas. The first type is a concerto. This is a piece of music written for violin, and can be played by violin with an orchestra or on its own. Next is the showpiece, usually written for violin/piano or only for soloist/piano. Another type of solo piece is the sonata; this can be played on orchestra, harpsichord, or friends with folk instruments like clapping.

Violin solos are usually performed unaccompanied or in concertos. There are also solo pieces within concertos for the violin, the rest of an ensemble like symphonies and symphonic poems. Lastly, there are many violin solo violin pop culture concerts!

These pieces were written for soloists to show off their talent. There’s almost always a cadenza, which is usually where the soloist can really put on a good show. A showpiece is even flashier and it’s written for either violin with piano or violin with orchestra. Showpieces are thought of as the most impressive way for a violinist to showcase their skills and abilities.

Sonatinas are written for (or with) the violin, piano, or some other instrument. They are generally a little more laid-back than concertos and showpieces, and have fewer technical passages. Orchestral solos are common for first violinists, and the excerpt will generally pop up on concertmaster auditions. Violin solos are also frequent in pop culture, in movies, pop songs, and TV shows.

What is the hardest violin sonatos piece?

The 24 Caprices for Violin by Paganini is one of the hardest violin sonatos pieces. When he wrote them, he was one of the only violinists actually able to play them! These violin pieces require many advanced techniques like left-hand pizzicato and other less common notes.

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