• Cheryl Frances-Hoad
  • Sonatina (2016)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • pf/vn

Programme Note

Sonatina was premiered at St. Peter's Church, Eaton Square, London by Fenella Humphreys and Nicola Eimer on the 25th April 2019.

​Sonatina is an arrangement of Songs and Dances for cello and piano.

Cheryl Frances-Hoad began her musical life as a cellist and composer, and her Violin and Piano Sonatina is a reworking of a cello piece she wrote in 2011 called Songs and Dances. It reverses the common fast-slow-fast movement plan, beginning with a slow first movement that is marked “Quietly dignified”. It explores the depths of the piano, with softly penetrating low notes, above which the piano and violin explore a two- bar motif in various forms. Stately in character, it has a feeling of space and grandeur.

The second movement is highly spirited, capriciously switching between irregular time signatures such as 7/8 and 5/8 and the more balanced 8/8 and 6/8. This creates an unpredictability and almost jazzy, dance-like quality. The violin’s harmonics above the rocking piano part add colour interest. A more expressive and expansive middle section is much fuller in texture, using rich piano chords and a cantabile violin melody, before giving way to a return of the livelier opening material. The third movement recalls the more sombre mood of the opening movement and uses syncopation and many changing time signatures to create ambiguity and a feeling of exploration and uncertainty. The melodic line rises to a huge climax, before beginning its descent, and after much harmonic tension and chromaticism, the work finishes its journey on a peaceful C-major chord.

© Nicola Eimer