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Lennox Berkeley

Publisher: Chester Music

Sonata for viola and piano (1945)
edited by and dedicated to Watson Forbes
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Piano + 1 Instrument
Year Composed
21 Minutes

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Programme Note
Lennox Berkeley Sonata for viola and piano (1945)
Sonata for Viola and Piano

This work, which was begun in January 1946, is in three movements. It was written at the request of Mr Watson Forbes, to whom it is dedicated, and the composer has aimed in particular at making full use of the very individual tone-colour of the viola.

The first movement ‘allegro-moderato’ is in strict sonata form – even the key-relationships of the first and second subject follow the traditional practice. It opens with a dialogue between the two instruments, and the whole movement is built on the first three notes, played by the viola alone.

The slow movement ‘adagio’ is in a much freer form. Sombre and meditative in mood, it exploits the different registers of the viola in long melodic phrases.

The last movement ‘allegro’ is somewhat more extended than the other two. It has clearly defined and contrasted themes, the first vigorous and rhythmical and the second purely melodic. Towards the end of the movement the pace slackens and a development of the second theme is heard, the slower tempo giving it a more reflective character.

A short coda in the original tempo brings the work to a conclusion.

Lennox Berkeley

  • Soloist(s)
    Martin Outram, va; Julian Rolton, pf
  • Ensemble
    New London Chamber Ensemble
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