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Sonata for violin and piano in D major op. 12

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Allegro moderato – Variations : Andantino con moto – Rondo : Vivace

In 1853, Lalo composed a Grand Duo concertant for violin and piano. The title reflected the equal importance of the two instruments (the violin part is quite carefully crafted), whereas the term sonata might have suggested a work for piano “with violin accompaniment,” as was customary in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Lalo then put the score aside for twenty years. Was it his meeting with Pablo de Sarasate in 1873 that reawakened his interest? He reworked (barely, it seems) his Sonata – the change of term revealing the evolution of practices and attitudes – which was then premiered by the Spanish virtuoso with Georges Bizet at the piano on 29 November 1873 at the Société Nationale de Musique. While this Opus 12 is the first of the great sonatas for violin and piano that flourished in France in the second half of the nineteenth century, its language and construction remain in the classicising romantic tradition rather than looking towards the future scores by Fauré (1876) and Franck (1886): three concise movements lasting less than twenty minutes, and traditional structures (successively a two-part sonata form, a theme and variations, and a sonata rondo). In the theme and variations, the counterpoint avoids didactic demonstrations and weaves an elegant dialogue between the parts. Eschewing symphonic textures, Lalo intended his score for performers who knew how to both deploy energy and flutter around with a gossamer nimbleness, notably in the brilliant finale full of spicatti.


publication date : 25/09/23

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