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Chamber Music


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Ethel Smyth
KATHLEEN LONG (Pianoforte)
Sonata (Op. 7) in A Minor
Allegro moderato; Scherzo-Allegro grazioso ; Romanze—Andante grazioso (Dante:" Inferno' V. 121); Finale-Allegro vivace
Three Songs with Pianoforte Accompaniment
Possession: The Clown; What if I were young again ?
Trio (after the Concerto)
AUegro modorato; Elegy (In Memoriam); Finale-Allegro
The two chamber music works in this evening's programme are separated by no less an interval than forty years. The Sonata was performed first in Leipzig in 1887, during tho composer's years of study in Germany, and was at once hailed as fresh and original work, displaying many fine and impressive qualities.
The first movement begins at once with the principal subject on violin and pianoforte together-a long, sweeping melody. It leads very naturally into the more energetic second subjoct, and the movement is worked out concisely and in shapely form, on them.
The violin has the first say in announcing the theme at the beginning of the second movement, a Scherzo in a swift and yet gracious Allegro, and tho alternative theme, corresponding to the conventional Trio is also given first to the violin. It appears a second time after the opening section has returned in slightly modified form.
The third movement is a Romance, inspired, so the composer tells us, by the same part of Dante's ' Inferno as Tchaikovsky's Francesco da Riminithe beautiful lines where Francosea herself tells how her and Paolo's Jove began with their reading together the tale of Launcelot. There are two fine melodies, of which the pianoforte has the first alone, the violin entering with the second a little later. The movement breaks into a kind of Fantasia more than once, before coming to an end in the quiet mood of its opening.
The last movement is vivacious and energetic, with a lively principal theme given first to the violin, which makes way more than once for other subjects, notably for one of broader and sterner character.
THE Concerto on which this Trio is founded was composed towards the end of 1906 and had its first performance under Sir Henry Wood at the Queen's Hall, in March, 1927.
The first movement has two chief themes, in which violin and horn both share, the first lyrical in character and the second rather suggestive of a country dance.
The ' In Memoriam,' the sub-title of the second movement-Elegy-refers to a phraso quoted from the composer's opera, The Wreckers. The beginning of the movement is in a melancholy strain, and the opening theme afterwards appears in major.
The last movement is in some ways the most interesting ; it is in two sections, each of which has its two chief themes, and towards the end the horn and violin indulge in a double Cadenza, of which the composer speaks as ' a duel which ends in peaceful collaboration.' A striking and novel effect is made by the horn playing mysterious chords pianissimo, an innovation which Dame Ethel devised specially for the original horn soloist in the Concerto, Mr. Brain.


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