Henri Woollett

Sonata for piano & violin

This sonata, from which exists also an excellent version for viola, dates from 1919.

In the course of that concert we did at the memory of the composer, and during the short introduction that I alwas do before to play a work, I made the remark that, in view of the date of composition and of the character of the work, it seemd to me to have quite a lot to do with the first world war, maybe not in the two first movements, but surely in the last (which was by it self longer than the two others together)

Indeed, that last movement starts like a march, terrible and implacable, interrupted at places by impassionated pieces of melodies…

I normally don't try nor like really finding significances to the music, which generally suffices to it self, but there, I couldn't avoid thinking of the mercyless advance of a war crushing all on its way… And then, all of a sudden, and without really knowing how it happens, this march, after pages, transforms itself into a funebral march, slow, but just as tragical, and the more it goes, the closest one arrives to the last lines of the music, the more it changes again, gets lighter and lighter, almost ethereal, to finaly terminate in the same character as the "In Paradisum" from Fauré's Requiem…

During that presentation, were of course present quite a few of Woollett ancient students, and, at that moment, one of them standed up and said that in fact, Woolett had been very affected by the death of quite a few of his pupils during that war, and that he wrote that sonata at their memory.

Unfortunately, the only correct recording of it in my possession, is one of the first movement, made just few days earlier at home to advertize the concert at the Radio. The whole sonata has been recorded at the concert, but with a camescope making more noise with its engine than the old wax rolls from 1900!… If I manage one day to filter all of that, I will add those two movements to the first one that I propose to you now, but even so, probably with a thread to the "Attic" of the "Odds & ends" page.





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Jean-Claude Féret


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Henri Woollett