PENNILLION (for violin and piano) op.571 (April 1994)

Theme and variations arranged from the original for violin and harp
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Duration: 9:24
First Performance: Christiane Edinger, 20,5,1994, Berlin

Sheet Music Available
Instrumental / piano score for sale
Instrumental parts for sale
Recordings Available
Music for piano and strings
Released: 28th October 2008
Recorded: 24th May 2008
Artists: Sonata for violin and piano, Jazz Dances, Pennillion: Madeleine Mitchell (violin) Howard Blake (piano) Recorded Potton Hall, May 24-25, July 13 2008. The CD includes an archive recording of the Piano Quartet performed by Jack Rothstein (violin), Kenneth Essex (viola), Peter Willison (cello) and Howard Blake(piano), recorded at the Conway Hall, October 1974
Available from: Amazon UK Naxos Records

Recorded on NAXOS: HOWARD BLAKE MUSIC FOR PIANO & STRINGS (74'15'') Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Howard Blake (piano) Naxos 8.572083 released October 28th 2008


  • 1: Theme 1 minutes 42 seconds
  • 2: Variation 1 35 seconds
  • 3: Variation 2 37 seconds
    L'istesso tempo
  • 4: Variation 3 1 minutes 01 seconds
    Meno mosso (ritmico)
  • 5: Variation 4 54 seconds
  • 6: Variation 5 1 minutes 16 seconds
    Lento (misterioso)
  • 7: Variation 6 1 minutes 45 seconds
    Moderato (grazioso)
  • 8: Theme 1 minutes 34 seconds
    Tempo primo (tranquillo)


The title comes from the Welsh custom of singing improvised verses on a given theme to a melody either well-known or taught by the harper. Here the original folk-like theme is stated at the beginning and end and there are seven variations in between. 'Penillion' was originally composed for violin and harp. This version was created by the composer in 1994.


29th August 2015 Alicia Smietana and Sasha Grynyuk, Dunblane Cathedral

A programme of music for violin and piano by Howard Blake

1st November 2013 Madeleine Mitchell (violin), Samoilov Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
16th October 2013 Howard Blake (piano), Madeleine Mitchell (violin), Leighton House, Kensington, 7.30

Wednesday 16 October 2013 75th birthday celebration of the local composer HOWARD BLAKE piano with MADELEINE MITCHELL violin BLAKE Penillion FRANCK Violin Sonata SCHUBERT Notturno (played by graduates of the Royal College of Music) BLAKE Violin Sonata

16th February 2013 Madeleine Mitchell and Howard Blake Naxos CD, Radio New Zealand. Good Morning programme
16th July 2006 Helen Burrows, David Ruddock, St Michael's Church Centre, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich


As a surprise, Chrsitiane Edinger and her excellent duo partner commenced the second half of the concert with Howard Blake's 'Penillion'-Theme and variations for violin and piano. One listened to this concisely constructed work with its astonishingly inspired melody as if the name of the composer were not Howard Blake , but Antonin Dvorak. The Slavic-sounding tonality of this poignant piece makes one curious to hear the Violin Concerto that Blake. whose neo-conservatism seems currently to be in vogue in the English music scene, has composed for Christiane Edinger.

Tagesspiegel (Berlin), 20/5/1994

Related Works

'PENNILLION (For Flute And Harp)' op.448 (March 1993)
Theme and variations arranged from the original for violin and harp
'PENNILLION (For Oboe And Piano)' op.461 (September 1994)
Theme and variations arranged from the original for violin and harp
'PENNILLION (for Clarinet And Piano)' op.466 (June 1994)
Theme and variations arranged from the original for violin and harp
'PENNILLION (for Bassoon And Piano)' op.466A (June 1994)
A theme and variations arranged from the original for violin and harp (see op.202)
'PENNILLION (for viola and piano)' op.570 (April 2006)
Theme and Variations arranged from the original for violin and harp

Related Autobiography Chapters

Madeleine Mitchell prompts the revised Violin Sonata and an album for Naxos (2007)
70th birthday celebrations with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2008)
Vladimir Ashkenazy records my piano music for Decca (2013)

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