The Violin Sonata No 2, op 10 (1946), was a product of the end of the war years and premiered by Yfrah Neaman and the composer in Holland in 1947. It is a work characterized by balanced formal proportions and closely wrought musical argument: references occur in the second and third movements to the Andante that prefaces the first movement, and the significance of the interval of a semitone should be noted (it is heard, for instance, at the beginning of each movement and in the violinist's concluding notes at the end of the sonata). The introduction, having led the music to the tonic key of F sharp minor, merges into a sonata-form 'Poco allegro' whose main wistful theme is contrasted by more agitated ideas. In the development the pace of the movement slackens as the violin meditates on the principal theme.
A desolate dialogue between violin and piano commences the ternary-form Adagio whose impassioned central section brings reference to both the introduction and the 'Poco allegro's' first theme. The music winds down to melancholy as the violin melody is accompanied by piano writing suggesting the clangour of tolling bells. A free rondo (Allegro vivo) forms the finale. Its opening idea, a short rhythmic snatch, is reminiscent of Bartók, a composer whom Ferguson greatly admires. Towards the end the momentum is interrupted with a recall of the introduction before the verve of the rondo is re-established for the coda.
from notes by Andrew Burn © 1986