DEBUSSY Sonata for flute, harp and viola

The Sonata for flute, viola and harp (French: Sonate pour flûte, alto, et harpe), L. 137, was written by Claude Debussy in 1915. The first performance was a private one at the home of Jacques Durand, Debussy's publisher, on December 10, 1916 and the first public performance was thought to be at a charity concert on March 9, 1917 (Walker, 1988). However, Thompson (1968) reported a performance of the sonata at London's Aeolian Hall by Albert Fransella, H. Waldo Warner and Miriam Timothy on February 2, 1917 as part of a concert otherwise given by the London String Quartet. A typical performance lasts between 17 to 18 minutes. 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.

VIDEO: The Walden Chamber Players perform the Debussy Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp at Iowa State University. Marianne Gedigian, flute; Christof Huebner, viola; Franziska Huhn, harp. 

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