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Sonata a violino solo


By 1705, when the Sonata a violino solo was probably written, Clerk was introducing Scottish elements into his style. The opening Preludium is wholly Italianate with its flourishes of scales, but the brief variations which follow have some Scottish touches and following a slow air there is a final Scottish jig which romps away with the piece. This work is also of structural interest, embodying the idea of Platonic ideal forms of which the thematic ideas of the whole sonata are the material manifestations. Clerk’s study of the classics is here put to use as part of an aesthetic which is remarkably ahead of its time, creating unity by thematic cross-references, the ideas derived from each other while allowing for contrast.

Interestingly, Clerk has made this sonata eighty-six bars long, thus incorporating the name ‘Elohim’ into it. Perhaps by this means he hoped to defend himself from Presbyterian criticism!

from notes by John Purser © 1998


Clerk: The Lion of Scotland

Track-specific metadata for CDA67007 track 4

Recording date
21 May 1994
Recording venue
St Andrew's Church, Glasgow, Scotland
Recording producer
David McGuinness & Martin Dalby
Recording engineer
James Hunter
Hyperion usage
  1. Clerk: The Lion of Scotland (CDA67007)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: April 1998
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