This piece was written for the Nash Ensemble, for their concerto to mark the composer's 50th birthday, given at Wigmore Hall, London, in May 1986. It was composed during August 1985 in New York City, and is dedicated to Amelia Freedman.
Five recent works of mine have been based on Debussy's Syrinx (1912) for solo flute, and this is the third of the group. Debussy used the combination of flute, viola and harp if one of his late sonatas, and I have always wanted to write a work for these instruments.
My Sonata is in seven sections: Molto moderato, Presto (Scherzo 1), alla habanera, Cadenza (for viola and harp), Vivo (Scherzo 2), Poco adagio (solo harp), adagio. The work lasts about 13 minutes. Richard Rodney Bennett