Originally intended as part of a cycle of six sonatas for various instruments, Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola, and harp was composed in 1915 during a productive summer spent at the coast in Pourville in which he also completed the Etudes and the Sonata for Violoncello. Only three of the Six Sonates pour divers instruments were completed before Debussy’s death in March 1918.
This arrangement of the Sonata for flute, viola, and harp for horn and piano attempts to keep as much of the original character as possible. The horn part has been constructed from melodic materials originally placed on the flute or viola, with the more florid passages recomposed to more suitably fit the articulation of the horn. The piano part has been constructed from the harp part and from materials of an accompanying character found in the other two parts, with figurations that are particularly idiomatic on the harp being recomposed to suit the piano.