Tim Benjamin

composer, writer, storyteller

Violin Sonata


The Violin Sonata is in three movements:

  1. Moderately

  2. Calm, with great simplicity

  3. Allegro molto

Each movement begins with a single sustained note, each time ascending by one octave, but each spins out into radically different characters. The whole piece ends finally on the same sustained note at the uppermost extreme of the violin.

The "moderately" marking on the first movement belies the "sturm und drang" that soon develops from the moto perpetuo motif that opens the movement. This motif is ever-present, passed between violin and piano as the principal themes develop.

After the storm of the first movement, the second movement marked "Calm, with the greatest simplicity" is defined by a simple, almost child-like melody that speaks of great nostalgia. The music has an odd charactersitic in that the piano accompaniment moves at a different rate to the melodic line, so that every time the melody repeats (which it does several times, with increasing elaboration), the accompaniment changes. The movement ends very questioningly, and unsettled, with no firm resolution.

The final movement is reminiscent of Hungarian dances and requires great virtuosity of the solo violinist. It is in a Rondo form in which a principal theme or dance returns several times, with new themes or dances between each appearance. As the theme returns, it becomes ever more elaborate, until at last the music finds a resolution - peaceful and settled, rather than triumphant.


20 minutes


Violin, piano

First performance

17th October 2014, Luke Coomber and Giacomo Battarino, at Houghton Hall, Norfolk (for Norfolk Concerts)


The following performance was recorded shortly before the world premiere, at Houghton Hall's Picture Gallery, by Luke Coomber and Giacomo Battarino.

Request a score / parts

If you would like to see a score and/or require a set of parts for this music, please contact me.