Sonata for Viola and Piano
Arnold Bax's Viola Sonata was completed in 1922 and was dedicated to the well-known British viola virtuoso, Lionel Tertis. The two premiered the work. It is no set key although it is tonal though not in the traditional sense. It begins with a flowing Molto moderato which at times rises to an agitated feverish pitch. The middle movement, Allegro energico ma non troppo presto, is restless and thrusting. The work ends ins somber fashion with a Molto lento.
Arnold Bax (1883-1953) was born in London. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Of independent means, he never needed to teach or conduct. He was a fine pianist but his main interests were composing music and poetry. His strong affinity for Ireland led him to spend considerable time in that country which influenced his outlook and music. The 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland and its brutal suppression, which included the execution of several of his friends, was to have a profound influence upon him. He is remembered mostly for his orchestral compositions but he wrote a great deal of chamber music. His music show many influences, perhaps the strongest of which is impressionism.