In 1919, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge held her annual Berkshire chamber music composition competition, calling for works featuring the viola.
That year produced three of the most beloved and enduring viola sonatas in all the canon: Ernest Bloch's Suite 1919, Rebecca Clarke's Sonata and Paul Hindemith's Sonata Op. 11, No 4.
Though these pieces have much in common including aspects of early 20th century exoticism and marked influence from the era's dominant composers Debussy and Ravel, they are also highly individual.
There are touches of Jewish traditional music in Bloch, English modality in Clarke and Expressionism in Hindemith. Eventually, Bloch and Clarke tied for 1st place, with Hindemith late in submitting his entry. The award was given to Bloch as the judges feared a female winner might damage the reputation of the competition. Here at the University of Delaware, almost 100 years later, you are invited to hear all these pieces together and judge their merits for yourself!