Martinu did not return to the madrigal idea again until 1942. By this time he was an exile in America. Having got over his initial homesickness he was now ready to woo the American public. He had already written the first Symphony which was successful, and was embarking on a Concerto for two pianos. In between, and by way of relaxation, he wrote two pieces of chamber music, a set of Variations on a theme of Rossini
for cello and piano, and the Madrigal Sonata
for flute, violin and piano. This approximates to sonata form but, as in the earlier work, it is the interplay of the three voices rather than considerations of structure which interests the composer most, emphasizing the link in his mind between this type of writing and the free-flowing lines of the classical madrigal.
Its three short movements (the second and third are interlinked) are somewhat fey in character and again remind us of Julietta. The mood generally is light and graceful, and the music does not attempt to plumb great depths of expression. A kind of Baroque-style ostinato is a feature of the first movement, and the slowish introduction to the second makes much use of trills. The Madrigal Sonata was completed in November 1942 and first performed in New York on 9 December on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the American League of Composers.
from notes by Kenneth Dommett & Robert Matthew-Walker © 1998