Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Movement 2: Quasi lento
Movement 3: Lento – Allegro molto
The second movement, Quasi lento, is fascinating as a pre-echo of Howells’s most famous song, King David written in 1919. The questioning, rising figure in the piano part also features importantly in the song, and the violin part, particularly in its second phrase, conjures up exactly the same feeling. The third movement opens with a reflection of that rising phrase from the second movement and then launches into a raunchy scherzo. Howells was right to think there was nothing like it in the repertory before. In fact, if anything, it conjures up the feeling of the music used for the television series Dr Finlay’s Casebook (the March from Trevor Duncan’s Little Suite of 1960). This movement has an extraordinary sweep to it, with the second subject being a massive chordal idea from the piano with a big-boned melody from the violin. It is heady stuff. Whatever Howells’s reasons for withdrawing the work (and we can only make educated guesses about them), we must be grateful that he did not destroy the manuscript.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 1993