Copland Violin Sonata Programme Notes

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On October 15, 2014, Posted by , In Programme Notes, With Comments Off on Copland Violin Sonata Programme Notes

Sonata for Violin and Piano (1943)                                                     Aaron Copland (1900-1990)        

  1. Andante Simplice-Allegro
  2. Lento
  3. Allegretto Giusto

On a first hearing, one might be surprised to learn that Copland’s Violin Sonata was composed and performed during the turmoil of Second World War. Though the work is also dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Harry H. Dunham, a friend of Copland’s who was killed in active duty in the south Pacific; this dedication was in fact made shortly after the completion of the sonata. This small chronological detail has often gone unnoticed by many unwary programme note writers who launch themselves headlong into comical accounts of the work in terms of “guns”, “chaos” and “bugle fanfares”.  The truth is quite the opposite, the work being one of free lyrical expression, at times jovial, at times wistful; encapsulating a simple optimism and beauty and also evoking something of an American artistic spirit through Copland’s folk-song style, cleverly woven into the music . Virgil Thomson (American composer and critic) called the Sonata “one of its author’s most satisfying pieces. It has a quality at once of calm elevation and of buoyancy that is characteristic of Copland and irresistibly touching.”


These notes come from an American themed recital programme I gave along with Caroline Palmer

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This work by Oscar Perks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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