Violin Sonata No.1 in c minor, Op.1
Benjamin Godard's Violin Sonata No.1 in c minor dates from 1866 and was dedicated to his first violin teacher Richard Hammer. It is full of youthful energy not surprisingly as Godard was all of seventeen years old. The work opens with a mysterious Andante introduction which builds suspense as it proceeds and leads to the main section, an agitated Allegro, which nonetheless at times is highly lyrical. Next comes a Scherzo moderato, a stylized dance, which alternates between airy, light and a heavy footed stomping episodes. A calm and reflective Andante follows and provides a nice contrast to what has come before. The exciting finale, Allegro vivace, is highly dramatic and at times approaches the operatic.
Benjamin Godard (1849-95) was born in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire composition with Reber and violin with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was somewhat of a prodigy on that instrument, as well as on the viola, and accompanied Vieuxtemps to Germany on concert tours on two occasions. Godard enjoyed chamber music and played in several performing ensembles. This experience stood him good stead when it came to writing effective chamber music compositions. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner with Théodore Dubois, head of the Paris Conservatory, of a musical competition instituted by the city of Paris. He composed music with great facility and from 1878 up to the time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including the opera Jocelyn, from which the famous "Berceuse" has become perhaps his best known work. He also composed several symphonic works, ballets, concertos, overtures and chamber music, including three string quartets, two piano trios and four violin sonatas.
Out of print for many years, we are pleased to make it available once again and believe it will be of interest to both amateurs and professionals alike.