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Sonata for piano and cello

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Allegro appassionato – Andante – Allegro con fuoco

Henriette Renié’s Cello Sonata in A flat major – the only piece she composed without the harp – was apparently first performed at a concert given by the Société nationale de musique at the Salle Pleyel on 15 February 1896. She presented her work as that of a male composer. “Success for the Sonata by a new musician, J. Renié, performed by a pianist with no weakness and a cellist with no strength,” wrote the critic for L'Écho de Paris, and he was not the only one who complained that the cello (played by Edmond Feuillard) was drowned by the pianist (M. Thibault). Paul Dukas, in La Revue hebdomadaire, praised the score but found it monotonous. Twenty years later, in 1916, the same work, still unpublished, won Henriette Renié the prestigious Prix Chartier awarded by the Institut de France. That distinction undoubtedly facilitated its publication (1920), this time under the composer’s full name, and its performance in concert – we know it was given at the Salle Érard on 14 February 1920 with Paul Bazelaire, cello. Although it is hard to tell whether the 1920 score corresponds exactly to the work created twenty-four years previously, the sonata is plainly in keeping with the legacy of César Franck, and can as such be seen as a tribute to him – he had had died in 1890. Overtly quoting Franck’s Violin Sonata in A major, the work also uses the cyclic technique, making its initial theme, with its strong chromatic modulations, the matrix of the entire musical discourse.



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