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Sonata for cello and piano in D minor (Fernand de La Tombelle)




Allegro – Lentement – Allegro vivace


Composed in 1905, the Cello Sonata marks the end of a decade during which La Tombelle added some ambitious works of chamber music to his catalogue: Quartet for strings and piano, op. 24 (1895), Trio for violin, cello and piano, op. 35 (1895), String Quartet, op. 36 (1896) and Violin Sonata, op. 40 (1898). It is probably no coincidence that the Cello Sonata concludes this set, since it did not become an established genre in French musical life until relatively late. La Tombelle dedicated the work to Gaston Courras, cellist at the Paris Opéra, who gave the first performance with the composer on 17 March 1902 at the Salle Érard (Courras also gave the first performance of the Variations en forme de chaconne several days later). In the “serious” key of D minor, the opening Allegro begins with an energetic anapaestic rhythmic motif which leans towards the second beat of the bar. The development of this two-themed sonata form is driven more by the abundant modulations than by the thematic writing, while the recapitulation shortens large sections of the exposition. The slow movement introduces a dreamy mood with its 9/8 time signature, its major key shaded by minor hues and forays into remote keys. The finale, with its modal touches, plays on the ambiguity between 6/8 and 3/4, galvanized by numerous rhythmic displacements. It excludes genuine contrasts, even though it encourages the changes of character associated with frequent changes of tempo.

    Person - 1
  • LA TOMBELLE, Fernand de (1854-1928)
  • Themes - 3
  • Instruments à cordes – L’École française de violoncelle
  • Strings – The Romantic cello
  • Musique de chambre – La sonate pour violoncelle en France