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.


The delightful Sonata in G Minor by Eccles is rightfully his most famous work. Paradoxically however, 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!


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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