The manuscript of the Sonata for solo violin WV83 is dated ‘Paris–London, January 1927’. It is one of a group of serious concert works from the period that also saw Schulhoff composing some of his most successful jazz-inspired pieces for piano: Cinq études de jazz
(December 1926), Esquisses de jazz
(October 1927) and Hot Music
(April 1928). The Sonata for solo violin is quite different—written in four compact movements, it brilliantly exploits the possibilities of an unaccompanied violin: driving rhythms in the first movement, a lyrical and highly chromatic slow movement (the opening theme uses all twelve notes of the chromatic scale), a Scherzo that makes extensive use of open fifths, and a trenchant, rugged finale that is coloured with the Lydian mode (a major scale with the fourth note raised, in this case with a C sharp in G major)—a common trait of the folk music of Eastern Europe that was also used by Bartók and Janácek.
from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2011