The Sonata for flute, viola, and harp (French: Sonate pour flûte, alto, et harpe), L. 137, was written by the French composer Achille-Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) in 1915. Here it is played by the “Formosa Trio”, Pei-San Chiu (flute), Tze-Ying Wu (viola) and Joy Yeh (harp). Along with Maurice Ravel, Debussy was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, though he himself disliked the term when applied to his compositions.

Claude Debussy: Sonata for flute, viola, and harp. Chamber recital featuring “Formosa Trio”: Viola – Tze-Ying Wu, Harp – Joy Yeh, Flute- Pei-San Chiu.
March 28, 2012, Ford-Crawford Hall
Indiana University Bloomington- Jacobs School of Music

Debussy’s music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of atonality. The French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.

According to Léon Vallas (1929, cited in Walker, 1988), Debussy initially planned this as a piece for flute, oboe and harp. He subsequently decided that the viola’s timbre would be a better combination for the flute than the oboe’s, so he changed the instrumentation to flute, viola and harp.

The work has three movements:

  1. Pastorale. Lento, dolce rubato
  2. Interlude: Tempo di Minuetto
  3. Finale. Allegro moderato ma risoluto

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened andantemoderato.com to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

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