Vol 8

Sonata in G Minor by Eccles, Part 1

In his quirky ingenious wisdom, Suzuki assembled a fascinating collection of pieces for Volume 8. It features two sonatas, two quick and two slow shorter showpieces, and unlike volumes 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10, no concertos. The first sonata is by Henry Eccles (1670–1742), born in England, the son of composer Solomon Eccles and brother of John Eccles, also a composer.

mountain-view

The delightful Sonata in G Minor by Eccles is rightfully his most famous work. Paradoxically, musicologists have revealed that the second part of the sonata was composed by Italian violinist-composer Francesco Bonporti.

The short first movement is marked Grave, a rather solemn and serious term that shouldn’t be taken too literally. Images and scenes can be more evocative of musical character and I recall practising this movement gazing out from my window to the majestic snow-capped mountains of the Japan Alps.

Henry Eccles wrote a lot of his compositions while living and working in Paris, which helps explain the continental flavour of his music. Vive la différence!

Recordings

Of all the recordings of the Sonata in G minor by Eccles, the one I like best is by violin virtuoso Felix Ayo, founder of the legendary Italian string ensemble, I Musici. Ayo, born in the Basque Country, is a naturalised Italian. Unfortunately his Phillips recording was published in Japan and is rather difficult to track down.

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