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Sonata for violin and piano op. 40

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Allegro agitato – Andante – Allegro molto

Written by Fernand de La Tombelle for his friend, the violinist Paul Viardot, with whom he used to play and to whom Fauré dedicated his First Violin Sonatain 1875, the Violin Sonata,op. 40 was published in 1900 by Costallat. In the first movement, the two dialoguing instruments swap the same broad phrase back and forth, accompanied by a virtually uninterrupted stream of quavers that creates a prevailing mood of agitation throughout the Allegro agitato. The theme, which is formed of successive surges and stated in several keys, gives listeners the impression that they are being swept along to an unbridled presto, which closes the movement with great panache. In marked contrast with what has gone before, the second movement begins like a berceuse, with a subtle pianissimo shading, and is marked “très calme”. Written in ternary rhythm, the theme unfurls smoothly, exuding an intimate lyricism. In the central section, the two hands of the pianist swap styles of accompaniment, profoundly altering the character of the music, and the agitation of the first movement reappears, helped along by a change in dynamic shading (forte), while the melodic profiles in the violin part become spikier. After this lively digression, the first section is repeated, restoring an atmosphere of calm. Breaking with the two forms of lyricism developed in the previous movements, the final Allegro is marked by a rhythmic compositional development: a very quick tempo, short note values, displaced stresses over weak beats.


publication date : 25/09/23

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