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It is astonishing that Elizabeth Maconchy’s two sonatas for violin and piano have remained unpublished for so many years.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