Blodwen Thomas (solo violin) and Thekla Jones (solo pianoforte), Winners at the National Eisteddfod 1926.
First and Last Movements of Second Sonata in both of these Movements have something of the reflective cast of thought that we often find in Brahms. There is vigour, but less of the sheer bursting forth of energy that most First and Last Movements of Sonatas display.
In the First Movement the Piano has the First Main Tune (note that it contains the characteristic Brahms 'arpeggio' Figure - here a four-note motif that walks up the scalic stairs two or three steps at a time). The Violin repeats this melody, and then comes the Second Main Tune, similar in feeling to the first -
gentle and amiable. The Piano begins this also. The melody can be distinguished by the left hand's three-notes-to-a-beat on the first two beats of the bar, against the right hand's two notes-a 'cross-rhythmic' effect, of which Brahms frequently made use. There is a subsidiary theme, that begins with a brisk 'postman's knock' rhythm of three notes. On these melodies the Movement is built.
The Last (Third) Movement is an engagingly happy Rondo, wherein the opening violin tune comes round several times, with intervening episodes of rather strongly contrasted moods.
Cesar Franck (1822-1890) was a Belgian, who lived most of his life in Paris.
His works, broadly conceived and full of grandeur, have also the winsome sweetness and purity of his mystical nature.
His Violin Sonata is in four separate Movements, which have a certain amount of material in common.
Only the first two Movements are played to-night.
I. Moderately quick. This Movement is not a long one. After a few soft chords on the Piano, the Violin enters, and, supported by the Piano, plays the First Main Tune. The opening bars of this constitute a 'Motto' which, transformed, recurs in or forms the basis of various passages throughout the work. A brief climax occurs, then the Violin stops, and the Piano alone plays the Second Main Tune at some length.
The Violin eventually re-enters, and the First Main Tune is briefly developed. After the Violin has been silent for a few bars the Recapitulation begins, both Tunes being repeated, only slightly modified.
II. Quick. This is a turbulent Movement. At the beginning the Piano plays a passage of rapid broken-up chords, with emphasized notes in the middle. This is the First Main Tune, and is repeated, with the Violin doubling the notes which form the Tune. It is developed at some length, until, after a momentary lull in the excitement, the Violin plays the Second Main Tune, a more lyrical piece of expression. This material is developed and recapitulated in a rather free treatment of 'Sonata Form'.