Sonata no. 2 for violin & piano

Elizabeth MaconchyGZ 090
Violin and Piano | Duration: 18 minutes


Elizabeth Maconchy’s second sonata for violin and piano was written in 1943 in arduous wartime circumstances. She had been evacuated in 1941 to Downton Castle in Shropshire with her husband William LeFanu and their infant daughter Anna. Recently recovered from tuberculosis, she was cut off from musical friends and family, and her mother and sister died in Switzerland during the war. Unsurprisingly, the second sonata is intensely serious, and is markedly different from her exuberant first sonata – which was written in 1927, when she was a student of Vaughan Williams. Its haunting, elegiac lines foreshadow her later work of the post-war years. Violinist Maria Lidka gave the first performance at the Wigmore Hall, London in May 1945, with pianist Antony Hopkins.

It is astonishing that Elizabeth Maconchy’s two sonatas for violin and piano have remained unpublished for so many years. Gonzaga Music is honoured to have been entrusted by her estate with their publication. It has been carefully prepared from the composer’s manuscripts by Gonzaga Music’s editorial director John Blood, with oversight by Nicola LeFanu (Maconchy’s daughter) and Giles Swayne (her cousin). We hope the publication of these sonatas, which were hitherto almost unknown, will introduce them to a wide musical public and enable them to take their place in the repertoire – while providing a foil to the series of thirteen string quartets for which Elizabeth Maconchy is so justly famous.

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CD available from Resonus Classics (www.resonusclassics.com): RES10271

Sonata 2 - WEB

  • I  Molto moderato
  • II  Allegro molto
  • III  Lento, quasi recitativo
  • IV  Presto

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Sonata no. 1 for violin & piano

Elizabeth MaconchyGZ 089
Violin and Piano | Duration: 18 minutes


Elizabeth Maconchy’s first sonata for violin and piano was written in 1927 when she was a twenty-year-old student at the Royal College of Music in London, where her composition teacher was Vaughan Williams. Although such an early work, it shows distinct individuality; its exuberance is markedly different from the darker tone of the second sonata – which was written in 1943 in arduous wartime circumstances. Even at this young age, Maconchy displays a personal and boldly modernist voice, and the interplay between the instruments already aspires to “passionate argument” – as she later characterised her music for string quartet. Her friend, violinist Anne Macnaghten, gave the first performance in 1932, with pianist Helen Perkins.

It is astonishing that Elizabeth Maconchy’s two sonatas for violin and piano have remained unpublished for so many years. Gonzaga Music is honoured to have been entrusted by her estate with their publication. It has been carefully prepared from the composer’s manuscripts by Gonzaga Music’s editorial director John Blood, with oversight by Nicola LeFanu (Maconchy’s daughter) and Giles Swayne (her cousin). We hope the publication of these sonatas, which were hitherto almost unknown, will introduce them to a wide musical public and enable them to take their place in the repertoire – while providing a foil to the series of thirteen string quartets for which Elizabeth Maconchy is so justly famous.

Image (21)

CD available from Resonus Classics (www.resonusclassics.com): RES10271

Sonata 1 - WEB

  • I  Moderato
  • II  Allegro scherzando
  • III  Lento
  • IV  Toccata: Allegro molto

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Sonata for Cello & piano

Giles SwayneGZ060
Cello & Piano | Duration: 29 minutes

First performed by Robert Irvine and Fali Pavri in July 2006 at the Cheltenham Festival, this major work (the first by Swayne for this combination of instruments since 1970) was commissioned by Beryl Calver–Jones and Gerry Mattock, to whom it is dedicated. It is marked by a return to classical principles and structures, and by the systematic use of contrasting eight–note modes. An important new addition to the cello repertoire.

GZ060 web cover

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“One of the many satisfying aspects of Giles Swayne’s cello sonata . . . was its ability to enrich and renew the tradition . . . a tremendous Brahmsian sweep that carried the listener along through skilfully fashioned paragraphs . . . compelling musical argument . . . convincingly encompasses both serious matters and unforced playfulness in an original, authentic voice. It was the pick of the premieres . . . at the 2006 Cheltenham Festival . . . deserves to be heard again and often.”

Full review here

Paul Conway, Tempo, Jan. 2007


£15.95 Add to basket