Sonata for Viola or Cello and Piano, Op.36
Henri Vieuxtemps' Viola Sonata dates from 1862. Most of his compositions were for the violin, however, after suffering a stroke which ended his career as a virtuoso, he turned to other instruments and penned this sonata which his publisher asked him to arrange for cello as well. In three movements, the first is massive, actually two movements in one, beginning with a lengthy and gorgeous Maestoso section which eventually leads to an Allegro. The second movement is an elegiac barcarola. The work concludes with a captivating Rondo scherzando.
Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) was born in Verviers, Belgium. He received his first violin instruction from his father, subsequently studying with Charles de Bériot. He toured Europe for several decades and was regarded as one of the leading violinists of his time. Schumann compared Vieuxtemps to Paganini,. Vieuxtemps also devoted himself to composition, having studied composition with Simon Sechter in Vienna, and Anton Reicha in Paris. His violin concertos are still in the repertoire. In addition to this, he became an important teacher, founding the violin school in St. Petersburg and teaching at the Brussels Conservatory, where Eugène Ysaÿe was among his many students
The work makes a magnificent recital work in either version and we warmly recommend it to violists and cellists alike.