Violin Sonata No. 1 (Bloch)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ernest Bloch's Violin Sonata No. 1 is a sonata for violin and piano. It is regarded as one of the masterpieces of the violin repertoire.[1]

Composed in Cleveland in 1920, the work makes considerable demands of both technique and endurance from the violinist.[1] Bloch himself described the sonata as a "tormented work",[2] and Roger Sessions described it as having a characteristic "mood of pessimism, irony and nostalgia".[3]


There are three movements:

  1. Agitato
  2. Molto quieto
  3. Moderato.

The first movement begins with driving, toccata-like idea which transitions to a characteristic Hebrew-inflected melody; these materials are extensively developed leading to a tormented, expressive coda. The second movement begins gently, with an sustained cantilena for the violin over a quiet piano arpeggios, but introduces more agitated material as it proceeds. The final movement is launched with heavily-chorded dance measures, but as the movement proceeds material from the opening two movements is revisited before the work ends quietly.[4]

Performance and Recording[edit]

The work was premiered in New York City in February 1921 by Paul Kochanski and Arthur Rubinstein.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Walter Simmons (1 February 2004). Voices in the Wilderness: Six American Neo-Romantic Composers. Scarecrow Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-8108-4884-9. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Robin Stowell (10 December 1992). The Cambridge Companion to the Violin. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-521-39923-4. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  3. ^ [quoted in] Andrea Olmstead (6 August 2012). Roger Sessions: A Biography. Routledge. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-415-97713-5. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Whitehouse, Richard (1999). Liner Notes to Bloch: Violin Sonatas Nºs 1 & 2/Suite Hebraique (CD). Naxos Records. 8.554460.