Violin Sonata No. 1 (Bloch)
Composed in Cleveland in 1920, the work makes considerable demands of both technique and endurance from the violinist. Bloch himself described the sonata as a "tormented work", and Roger Sessions described it as having a characteristic "mood of pessimism, irony and nostalgia".
There are three movements:
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.
Performance and Recording
- 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.
- 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.
- [quoted in] Andrea Olmstead (6 August 2012). Roger Sessions: A Biography. Routledge. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-415-97713-5. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- Whitehouse, Richard (1999). Liner Notes to Bloch: Violin Sonatas Nºs 1 & 2/Suite Hebraique (CD). Naxos Records. 8.554460.