Cello Sonata in D Major (1905)
Thťodore Dubois (1837-1924), after graduating from the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with Ambroise Thomas and won the coveted Prix de Rome, enjoyed a long career during which he held many important positions, including that of director of the Madeleine, where he succeeded Saint-SaŽns, and later of the Paris Conservatory. Among his many students were Paul Dukas and Florent Schmitt. Dubois wrote a considerable amount of music in nearly every genre. Like Saint SaŽns, he eschewed impressionism, and continued on in the French Romantic tradition which the former had helped to pioneer. It is characterized by, logic, clarity, fine melody, drama and a refined sense of taste. His music is finely crafted and clearly shows that he was a gifted melodist. It is truly a pity his chamber music is unknown because it is absolutely first rate.
The cello sonata dates from 1905 and is three movements. The opening movement, Allegretto con moto, begins unusually with the celloís insistent offbeats and compressed energy. Gradually the music becomes slower as the second theme is introduced. The middle movement, Andante con variationi, is tinged with a baroque flavor and yet forms a kind of intermezzo. The rousing finale, Allegro bien rythmť, evokes the mood of a rustic country dance, while somehow still retaining a certain air of elegance.
Here is an individualistic work, fresh-sounding which is sure to make an impact in the recital hall. It will certainly make a welcome edition to the repertoire.