Sonata for flute, viola and harp (Debussy)

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The Sonata for flute, viola and harp (French: Sonate pour flûte, alto, et harpe), L. 137, was written by Claude Debussy in 1915.

The first performance was a private one at the home of Jacques Durand, Debussy's publisher, on December 10, 1916 and the first public performance was thought to be at a charity concert on March 9, 1917 (Walker, 1988). However, Thompson (1968) reported a performance of the sonata at London's Aeolian Hall by Albert Fransella, H. Waldo Warner and Miriam Timothy on February 2, 1917 as part of a concert otherwise given by the London String Quartet. A typical performance lasts between 17 to 18 minutes.

According to Léon Vallas (1929, cited in Walker, 1988), Debussy initially planned this as a piece for flute, oboe and harp. He subsequently decided that the viola’s timbre would be a better combination for the flute than the oboe’s, so he changed the instrumentation to flute, viola and harp.


The work has three movements:

  1. Pastorale. Lento, dolce rubato
  2. Interlude: Tempo di Minuetto
  3. Finale. Allegro moderato ma risoluto

See also[edit]


  • Thompson, K.L. (Oct, 1968). First performance? The Musical Times, 109(1508), 914-915.
  • Walker, Deanne Elaine. An analysis of Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree, Master of Music, Rice University, Houston, Texas, September, 1987.
  • Walker, Deanne E. (1988). An analysis of Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp (Thesis). Rice University. 

External links[edit]