Unpublished violin sonata

Edited: October 28, 2019, 4:53 PM · I am posting a link to a recording of a violin sonata which was never published but written by a fine composer, my grandfather Van Denmann Thompson. He wrote it for my mother, and always a pragmatist made it not too long and not too difficult.

Dr. Thompson studied composition (with George Chadwick) and organ at the New England Conservatory and subsequently was Dean of the School of Music at Depauw University for many years. His works were mostly of a liturgical nature and published by HW Gray. He was commissioned by the Methodist church to write an oratorio celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Methodist church in America.

My copy of the work is a photocopy of the original which survives since he burned all of the original manuscripts of most of his works after he retired.

I have notated the score and violin part on finale and can make it available to anyone who wants it. The second movement is especially beautiful and if you need something to go on the church service (with organ or piano) as an offertory it works tremendously well; better in my opinion than for instance Meditation by Thais.

It is also a not too difficult piece which would be suitable for an intermediate student. Enjoy! Bruce


Replies (16)

October 28, 2019, 10:25 PM · Would you consider posting it on IMSLP for anyone to access readily in future?

You are not the composer, but maybe you would be considered as having the rights to the work?

October 28, 2019, 10:29 PM · Beautiful, Bruce. I'd be very interested in a copy. Are performance rights restricted? (i.e. any complications in doing this on a free public recital?)
October 29, 2019, 4:20 AM · That’s a really lovely piece, I too would be interested in a copy. Thank you for delighting and sharing this piece!
October 29, 2019, 5:09 AM · That is very beautiful, and I also would be very interested in getting a copy of the sonata. When was it written?
October 29, 2019, 6:08 AM · Thanks for sharing this lovely piece. I am also interested in a copy.
October 29, 2019, 9:38 AM · Lovely! Please include me in the list of those interested in obtaining a copy of the sonata.
October 29, 2019, 10:02 AM · Thank you for sharing the performance. It is beautiful.
October 29, 2019, 11:10 AM · Another vote for the score here:)
October 29, 2019, 11:24 AM · Why did he burn his original manuscripts after retiring?
October 29, 2019, 12:07 PM · I was going to ask what Erik asked. That seems terribly sad.
Edited: November 1, 2019, 4:02 PM · For those of you who wish a copy of the piano/vln score and violin part send me a private email and I'll send you them.

This is a biographical account of his many years at Depauw University. https://library.depauw.edu/library/archives/ehistory/chapter3/vandenman.html

By the way, when I was a teenager in the early 1960's he paid me the outrageously high sum of $5 to mow his lawn! This with a $1 weekly allowance from my parents and my profits from my paper route made me a rich boy.

November 1, 2019, 4:01 PM · Bruce,
It won't let me send an email. Its telling me theres an error
Edited: November 1, 2019, 4:03 PM · Just email me at bruce_berg@baylor.edu

But don't pass along my email address to the Russians!

November 1, 2019, 6:45 PM · Destroying manuscripts in face of death is not unknown among composers. All that survives of Hugh Wilson (1766-1824), for instance, are two hymn tunes. George Butterworth (1885-1916) destroyed quite a lot before he went to the First World War.
November 4, 2019, 3:32 PM · I have sent pdf copies of the sonata to those of you who requested a copy. Let me know if you have any problems. I'm wondering if I'm making a mistake by not asking for a few $ in exchange. As some of you know I have made my editions (influenced by Ivan Galamian, Dorothy Delay, Josef Gingold, and others) of Bruch 1, Symphonie Espagnol, Saint Saens #3, and Mendelssohn available for free on my Baylor website. They are similarly notated on Finale, include both an edited and urtext version, and piano score. At this point my Baylor website has been closed down since I retired recently and the editions are no longer available, except for those people who have downloaded pdf versions previously.

As you may know, most other editions of these concertos are deficient and some of the edited urtext versions cost about $35 and are especially poorly edited.

The reason I am thinking of asking for say, $20 for these editions is that a lot of people think that a product does not have good value or is of inferior quality if it is offered for free.

November 5, 2019, 9:51 AM · Bruce's website at Baylor is still online:


Regarding the $20 issue: just to give a counterexample, the Bach and other editions by Werner Icking are of the highest scholarship yet freely available on IMSLP.

Bruce, I would indeed suggest you create an entry on your grandfather on IMSLP and include the sonata there. It is probably the best way to ensure that the work will remain available in the future. I can offer technical help if so desired.

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