Second Cello Sonata
Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the pianist Simon Callaghan, the music of the Derbyshire-born Roger Sacheverell Coke has started to emerge from the obscurity in which it has languished since the composer’s death in 1972. Despite showing considerable early promise, Coke remained an outsider in British musical life. His three cello sonatas frame the years 1936 to 1941 a very productive period in Coke’s life. The second cello sonata in C major op. 29 coincides with a decisive moment in Coke’s compositional development. While in the throes of composing the sonata in October 1938, Coke decided to destroy of a number of early works he now regarded as immature – notably his first symphony and first piano concerto – an action reported in the Sheffield Telegraph (11 October 1938) presumably after a tip-off from Coke himself. Perhaps for this reason, the work seems to have held a particular significance to the composer. The sonata opens in declamatory style with an insistent theme introduced by the cello with forceful piano accompaniment, immediately signaling a wide emotional range and a more dynamic relationship between the two instruments.