Best known as the composer of classic film scores including The History of Mr Polly, The Winslow Boy and A Night to Remember, William Alwyn (1905-1985) also wrote symphonies, concertos and fluently idiomatic chamber music, of which this attractive Sonatina for violin and piano is a fine example.
Lasting around 12 minutes, and bearing the Alwyn hallmarks of rich, romantic harmony and vigorous, expressive line, it follows a traditional plan, opening with a flowing sonata first-movement both thoughtful and preludial in character. An introspective Adagio strikes a deeper note before a rousing finale, cast in the stirring rhythms of waltz and syncopated gigue, closes the work with a flourish.
Though premiered at the Royal Academy of Music in 1935, the Sonatina remained unpublished for 75 years, coming to wider notice in a recent recording by Madeleine Mitchell and Andrew Ball on the Naxos label. Violinists of Grades 7 to 8 standard or above will welcome this new work from the pen of an important 20th-century British composer, whose technical command of the medium will be immediately apparent.
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