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It is astonishing that Elizabeth Maconchy’s two sonatas for violin and piano have remained unpublished for so many years.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.
CD available from Resonus Classics (www.resonusclassics.com): RES10271
- I Moderato
- II Allegro scherzando
- III Lento
- IV Toccata: Allegro molto