Cello Sonata ('Hours with the Masters') (2015–2016)
for cello and piano
  1. Allegro misterioso
  2. Scherzo
  3. Fluente
  4. Adagio
To Friedrich Gauwerky and Daan Vandewalle
Publisher: Bardic Edition
Score and Part BDE 1184
Available from
Goodmusic Publishing
Duration: c. 17 minutes

Recorded by Friedrich Gauwerky and Daan Vandewalle on 'Michael Blake - The Philosophy of Composition' Wergo WER 7361 2

Awaiting concert première

Programme note
Almost everyone who had piano lessons in the mid-20th century will have encountered the now classic anthologies of so-called masterpieces, ‘Hours with the Masters’. And my Sonata for violoncello and piano, which has that subtitle, is therefore a kind of imaginary anthology of violoncello sonatas from Beethoven through to the 20th century, chosen mostly for the material they yield. My other starting point emerged from the little-recognized scenario that Beethoven was a contemporary of the Christian Xhosa prophet and composer Ntsikana Gaba (c.1760-1821) whose hymns are the earliest pieces in the repertoire of most black South African choirs. So my ‘Sonata for violoncello and piano (‘Hours with the Masters’)’, which I started in Cape Town in November 2015 and completed at my new home in France in September 2016, has two movements derived from the classical composers of violoncello sonatas (in particular Beethoven’s third), and two movements deriving more from Xhosa music – i.e. from the masters of both traditions. It was written at the request of Friedrich Gauwerky.

Made in RapidWeaver