The Cello Sonata in E minor, Op 113, was completed in 1927 in Paris. Although ostensibly in three movements, it can better be considered as a four-movement work without a first movement. The sonata begins, therefore, with a slow movement, in moderate tempo, which cannot properly decide if it is in E major or E minor, for both keys tend to jostle for position, although the minor mode predominates. The second movement, unusually termed Menuetto tragico, has a violent introduction which lands on the key at the polar opposite to E minor—B flat major. Into this unusual juxtaposition comes the minuet itself, music which exhibits an underlying nervousness of character, until a brief reminiscence of the opening violence plunges us headlong into the finale. A cello cadenza lands on the dominant of E major, and at once the longest movement in the work (as if to compensate for there being no sonata first movement as such) is under way. Once more, it is E minor which tends to dominate this robust work, and we can appreciate the composer’s sleight-of-hand wherein he begins the development as if it were a false recapitulation. There is much to applaud here.
from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 2002