Following for you an interesting listening guide about this cello sonata. Good reading and have a good day!
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🎧 LISTENING GUIDE
🎧 The scordatura used in the Sonata for Solo Cello. The upper two strings remain the same as in normal tuning, while the lower strings are tuned down one semitone. The piece wavers between B minor and B major, and Kodály used the tuning to extend the instrument’s tonal, dynamic and expressive range.
The Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály wrote his Sonata in B minor for solo cello, Op. 8, in 1915. It was first performed in 1918 and published in 1921.
It is among the most significant works for solo cello written since Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites. It contains influences of Debussy and Bartók, as well as the inflections and nuances of Hungarian folk music.
The sonata was written in 1915 but its premiere was delayed due to World War I. It was premiered by Jenő Kerpely (1885–1954; sometimes seen as Eugène de Kerpely) in Budapest on 7 May 1918. Kerpely was the cellist of the Waldbauer- Kerpely Quartet, which had premiered the first four string quartets by Bartók. It was published by Universal Edition in Vienna in 1921.
Kodály himself predicted that “in 25 years no cellist will be accepted who has not played it”. Indeed, less than 40 years later, in 1956, the sonata was a set piece for the Casals Competition in Mexico City. But in the meantime it had to earn its recognition. George Neikrug’s playing of it at his debut at the New York Town Hall in 1947 was the first American performance of the work for many years.
The solo sonata is in three movements:
I. Allegro majestic but passionate
II. Slowly with great expression
III. Allegro very lively.