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Frank Bridge

Sonata for Cello and Piano

The Sonata in D minor for Cello and Piano, dated 1913-1917, is a two-movement work in which the second movement displays Bridge's great despair over the futility of war and the general state of the world. Marked by his usual technical fastidiousness and unerring taste, the Cello Sonata indicates that Bridge was beginning to open himself to a wider range of stylistic references. (Some writers see reflections of Rachmaninoff in the first movement, and of Bax in the opening of the second.)

The opening movement, begun in 1913, starts with a soaring cello line and continues with rolling periods of lyrical flights and accompaniment which adds richness and tension to the music's progress. The contrasting second movement, first conceived as a slow movement followed by an independent finale, was compressed into an arch-shaped structure, incorporating a thematically derived scherzetto with the addition of an extended coda which refers to the work's opening.

The entire sonata, with the chromaticism of the slow section and the aggressive tonal and bi-tonal colors in the scherzo, hints at his later style. At the American premiere in 1923 the audience (including Artur Rubinstein and Hans Kindler) was captivated by the lyrical beauty of the work, a favorite of its composer which has remained the most widely performed of his duet pieces. ~Jane Erb