The Sonata No 3 in E minor, Op 38, was written in 1923 after Howells had seen the Rockies for the first time. In some ways it seems unlikely that a composer who was so often inspired by the homely Englishness of the Cotswolds should find his creative juices churning at something so very foreign to his experience. And yet the music itself describes this dilemma. The first movement opens with almost a topographical drawing of the outline of the Malverns sketched out in the violin part, and yet within a short space of time this has transformed itself into a rugged, marching idea where the whole sound-world is less comfortable. The second movement is a scherzo in which much use is made of alternating pizzicato and bowed playing, and at the end of the third movement the beginning of the sonata is recalled and leads the work to a reflective conclusion.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 1993