Sonata No.1 for Violoncello & Piano (1916)
Sem Dresden (1881-1957) was born in Amsterdam and studied composition at the Conservatory there before going to Berlin where he studied with Hans Pfitzner at the Stern Institute. He then returned to the Netherlands where he worked as a choral director, composer, and teacher. He held several position including serving as director of the Amsterdam and Hague conservatories.
Pfitzner encouraged Dresden to pay close attention to impressionism and his works show the influence of the French impressionists and post-impressionists. His First Cello Sonata dates from 1916. It was premiered two years later, with Dresden at the piano, and was hailed as admirable, delightful and sublime.. In the first two movements, the cello is given a series of long-lined melodies, almost all on itís a string while the piano has a richly shaded counter part which creates an ethereal dream world. The third and final movement begins with a series of wild chords and restless fragments, giving it a very modern character. Eventually, the tremendous chaos is resolved in an extraordinarily charming fashion.
Here is an individualistic work, well ahead of its time which uses the cello in a sympathetic manner and is sure to make an impact in the recital hall.