VIOLIN SONATA op.169 (October 1973)

Concert work for violin and piano, original version, revised 2007, see op.586
Published by: Highbridge Music Ltd
Commissioned by: Jack Rothstein
Duration: 18:18


  • 1: Allegro 6 minutes 16 seconds
  • 2: Lento 6 minutes 20 seconds
  • 3: Vivace 7 minutes 14 seconds


Originally composed for Jack Rothstein 1973, withdrawn

Revised in 1994 for Christiane Edinger, withdrawn

All 3 movements extensively revised August/September 2007 and recorded for Naxos by Madeleine Mitchell and Howard Blake, released 2008

Composer's note: 'Whilst a student from 1957 at the RAM I had been the piano part of a duo with Miles Baster, performing concerts of the standard repertoire, but Miles left london to live in Edinburgh in 1960 to lead The Edinburgh String Quartet and our partnership came to an end. Miles became violin professor at Glasgow Academy and Leith University and remained devoted solely to music there until his death. He had largely abandoned his earlier ambition to be a soloist in favour of professional activity in teaching, chamber and orchestral music. As a student he had once expressed the wish that I compose a sonata for him, but I produced nothing more than a sketch. In the early seventies I left London to live at Highbridge Mill in Sussex and started playing with the violinist Jack Rothstein. He suggested a sonata which I did compose, quite rapidly during October-November 1973, but I was not stisfied with it  and after two performances with Jack I withdrew it.

More years went by and after the recording of the Violin Concerto in 1993 the German soloist Christiane Edinger asked to look at the sonata. We played it through and I made some revisions but was once again dissatisfied and discarded it.

In February 2007 I found myself conducting in Edinburgh and the cellist from Miles' quartet, Mark Bailey, who was playing in the orchestra, approached me and we reminisced a little. I started to recall Miles' playing from all those years ago. He had very high ideals in regard to music and strong opinions as to the quality and importance of the greatest composers.  Perhaps for this very reason I had never summoned up the temerity to thrust my own work on him. During this conversation however the idea of some sort of musical tribute to Miles was briefly mooted, although it got no further, yet during the summer I dug out the material and looked at  it again, some of it going back as far as 50 years! Suddenly I conceived a completely new beginning and this set me on the path of extensively and ferociously revising the entire piece. Whilst writing I constantly remembered Miles virtuosity and artistic punctiliousness, his views on music and his extreme conscientiousness as regards to markings, tempo and dynamics. Having completed  it I marked it 'Dedicated to the memory of Miles Baster.'  The slow movement might seem to have a requiem-like quality, although the work is of a virtuoso nature throughout. I can only hope that he might conceivably have approved. That would have been a rare honour.'


3rd December 2019 Paul Gregory (solo guitar), Alan Parmenter (violin) with Howard Blake (piano), Chapel Royal, North Street,Brighton Tuesday 3rd December 1.00pm

Related Works

'VIOLIN SONATA' op.454 (July 1993)
Concert work for violin and piano revised see opus 169
'SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO' op.586 (September 2007) (Audio Sample Available)
Violin Sonata, concert work in 3 movements

Related Autobiography Chapters

'Variations on a theme of Bartok', Howard Ferguson, and violinist Miles Baster (1958)
Israel, The Piano Quartet, The Remarkable Rocket, The New National Songbook (1974)

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