Thursday 7 February 2019

Grace Williams' 'Violin Sonata'

Grace Williams
Grace Williams
Until recently Grace Williams' Violin Sonata, a major piece of chamber music by Wales' foremost female composer, languished in manuscript in the library of Ty Cerdd, the Welsh Music Information Centre, in Cardiff. Whilst researching violin music by Welsh composers, violinist Madeleine Mitchell came across Williams' Violin Sonata. A subsequent performance of the work, led to her discovering further of Williams' chamber music works remaining in manuscript. Madeleine Mitchell has now recorded these works with her London Chamber Ensemble and the disc is being released on Naxos on 8 March 2019, International Womens' Day. [available from Amazon].

Grace Williams (1906-1977) studied at the Royal College Music from 1926 to 1930 with Ralph Vaughan Williams. RVW helped her obtain a travelling scholarship to study with Egon Wellesz in Vienna in 1930, where she wrote her Violin Sonata. Returning to London the following year she wrote the two large chamber works on the disc, Sextet for Oboe, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Violoncello and Pianoforte (1931) and Suite for Nine Instruments (for flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano and string quintet) (1934) whilst teaching part time.The works are published by the Oriana Press

Madeleine Mitchell and the London Chamber Ensemble are launching the CD at City University Performance Space, College Building, St John Street, London EC1V 4PB (free but tickets required). Madeleine Mitchell will also be playing Williams' Violin Sonata along with works by Amy Beach, Lili Boulanger, Rebecca Clarke, Sadie Harrison and Judith Weir. Madeleine Mitchell with Cerys Jones, violin and Konstantin Lapshin, piano at the University Women's Club.

For International Women's Day, Madeleine Mitchell with Cerys Jones, violin and Konstantin Lapshin, piano will be performing Williams' Violin Sonata in a programme entitled A Century of Music by Women with music by Judith Weir, Lili Boulanger and Rebecca Clarke at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, full details from the college's website.

Madeleine Mitchell's disc is available from Amazon.

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