Completed in June 1913, as Schulhoff turned nineteen, the Sonata No 1 for violin and piano WV24 (Op 7) was a product of his years of study in Cologne. Vlastimil Musil describes it in the preface to his edition as ‘a work bearing the mark of Schulhoff’s search for his own musical expression’. The first two movements are much more complex harmonically than the less developed third and fourth movements, but there’s a marked advance from the Suite in terms of Schulhoff’s harmonic language and this can be attributed in large part to a discovery he made in 1912: the music of Claude Debussy. The first movement is cast in sonata form and is rich in Debussy-like harmonies, while the second (Ruhig – the tempo markings for the Sonata No 1 are as given in Josef Bek’s work catalogue. The published edition of this Sonata edited by Vlastimil Musil (Panton, Prague, 1966) uses Italian markings as follows: 1. Allegro risoluto; 2. Tranquillo; 3. Presto; 4. Allegro molto.) demonstrates Schulhoff’s gift for spinning long lyrical lines. The Scherzo is capricious and slightly unsettled, not only in its anxious outer sections but also in the trio section which suggests a deformed chorale tune. The opening idea of the finale dominates much of its musical argument, interrupted by contrasting slower sections (in which the spirit of Debussy is never far away). The Sonata had to wait more than a decade for its first performance, given by Schulhoff himself and the violinist Ervina Brokešová at the ISCM Festival in Prague on 29 May 1924—by which time Schulhoff was a very different composer.
from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2011