Subtitled Before the Tryst, this sonata is in one sense a ‘prequel’ to the similarly scored miniature, After the Tryst (1988). The composer explains that these and other works with ‘Tryst’ in the title were inspired by a poem of the same name by the Scottish writer William Soutar (1898–1943). “I set it initially as a song for my folk group and then ‘classicised’ it as Scots Song. It is a love poem in the Scots language, and I set it to sound like an old Scots folk song.”
The Sonata for Violin and Piano was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, New York, and first performed by its dedicatee, Simone Lamsma, with Robert Kulek. The work is composed in a single, 15-minute span with contrasting sections. Once again, the music refers to some of the Scots Song materials, and the ghost of folk song can be detected at various points throughout.