Cello Sonata in a minor, Op.54
Paul Juon (1872-1940) was the son of Swiss parents who emigrated to Moscow where he was born. Educated at the Moscow German High School, he entered the Moscow Conservatory where he studied violin with Jan Hrimaly and composition with Anton Arensky and Sergei Taneyev. After graduating, he went to Berlin for further composition instruction from Woldemar Bargiel (we have published Bargiel's Piano Trio No.1). In 1906, after holding various posts in Russia, Juon was invited by Joseph Joachim head, of the prestigious Berlin Hochschule für Musik, to be a Professor of Composition. It was a post he held until 1934 at which time he moved to Switzerland, where lived for the rest of his life.
During his lifetime, Juon was widely regarded as an important composer and his works were given frequent performance throughout Europe. Chamber music plays a large part of his total output which numbers more than 100 works.
Juon’s Op.54 Cello Sonata dates from 1912. Joseph Press the cellist who premiered it wrote, "This is a sonata of new-romantic character, full-sounding, pleasant and written with verve. It is both interesting and grateful to play and deserves to enter the repertoire." The main theme of opening movement, Allegro moderato, is tinged with Russian melody, its more modern tonal color is built on a foundation of Borodin and Tchaikovsky. The middle movement, an Andantino has a short scherzo section within it. The finale, Rondo, is characterized by its effective modal changes between minor and major
This sonata, long unavailable, should definitely be an important addition to every cellist's sonata repertoire.