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Sonata for violin and piano no. 4

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Vivace ma non troppo – Allegro vivace ma non presto – Andante – Allegro molto

Dedicated to Mlle Laure Donne, perhaps a pupil of Godard’s (teaching formed an important part of his activity throughout his career), the Fourth Violin Sonata was published in 1880 by the Berlin firm of Bote and G. Bock. The first movement opens with a long dominant pedal that creates an air of expectancy and prepares the arrival of the theme in the key of A flat major. This highly energetic subject features typically Schumannesque cross-accents. The Allegro vivace which plays the role of a scherzo shows how much attention Godard paid to rhythmic style. It is composed in an unusual metre with five beats to the bar, which creates a sentiment of constant imbalance. This Allegro movement is based on two highly contrasted elements, the first staccato, the second legato and more songlike. The phrase that opens the Andante, presented over expressive repeated notes from the piano, is once again reminiscent of the music of Schumann. Though of great simplicity, it is tinged here and there with chromaticisms that make its contours more complex. The second element breaks with the lyricism of this initial melody. Essentially rhythmic and accompanied by much more unstable harmonies, it too is driven by a very Schumannesque energy. The last movement follows on directly from the Andante after a cadenza-like passage on the piano. This swift Allegro molto is driven forward by a constant semiquaver flow that gives the discourse great restlessness, increased by the harmonic instability of the opening of the movement – which starts with a dominant chord (in the enharmonic key of G sharp major).


publication date : 25/09/23

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