Frederick and Jelka Delius fled Grez-sur-Loing in 1915 before the advancing Germans, eventually reaching London where they lived for three years. There they met May and Beatrice Harrison, two young British artists who became noted virtuoso performers - a violinist and cellist respectively, and Delius wrote sonatas and concerti for them. The Cello Sonata, written in 1916 for Beatrice Harrison and first performed by her in 1918, is cast in one movement with three sections - Allegro ma non troppo; Lento, molto tranquillo; Tempo primo. It is very much a showpiece for the cello, having scarcely a pause anywhere, with a slow middle section contrasting with the flow of rhapsodic melody in the outer parts. The work opens with a big sweep of cello melody which provides the material for much of the piece, followed shortly by the piano's only solo in this work, a six-bar phrase in octaves. The work moves along with a feeling of continuing evolution, into a slow middle section which is followed by a recapitulation of the opening pages. The sonata ends with a device Delius seldom used - a triumphant coda.
Copyright © 1996 by Jane Erb, All Rights Reserved.