Smyth: Sonata in A minor for Cello and Piano

october COMPOSER: dame ethel smyth

Ethel Smyth

sonata in a minor for cello and piano, Op 5, 1887

Sonata in A minor is a sonorous treat for the ears. A piece that displayed Dame Ethel’s move from student to professional; she composed it a few years after studying at the Leipzig music conservatory. You can hear the influence of Brahms, a man she both met and admired while studying. Indeed her time in Germany provided her a musical community that she had not found growing up in England. This sonata is dedicated to one of these friends, famous cellist Julius Klengel. The combination of cello and piano never fails to provoke an emotional response. It is especially true in Sonata in A minor where they are so magnificently woven around each other by Smyth’s lyrical expertise.

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Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in A Minor

September COMPOSER: pytor tchaikovsky

Pytor Tchaikovsky

Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50, 1882

All of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical talents are on display in Piano Trio in A minor. A deeply emotive work, it remains a unique piece of chamber music that literally set the score for Russian composers for years to come. He dedicated it, ‘ in memory of a great artist’, to his close friend and champion Nikolai Rubinstein who had died the previous year. Rubinstein’s appointment of Tchaikovsky to a professorship at the Conservatory of Moscow was as instrumental to his career as this piece became to those Russian composers who came after him.

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Debussy: Suite Bergamasque (Clair de lune)

JUly COMPOSER: claude debussy

Claude Debussy

suite bergamasque 1905

I set out to research the popular Clair de lune only to discover that like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, it was actually one of four movements of a larger piece of music. I understand how one movement might resonate more than others, but to me at least I feel like that’s like choosing only to read the middle of a book, or watch only the end of a movie. You’re missing the whole story that the composer was telling. The wonderful thing I’ve discovered so far on this journey into the classical world is that all of these pieces I’m uncovering are stories waiting to be discovered.

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