Walton's Violin Sonata was commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin after a chance encounter in Lucerne, Switzerland in September 1947. The work was completed in 1949 and first performed by Menuhin and Louis Kentner that year. This edition is based on the score published in the Walton Edition Chamber Music volume.
Sir William Walton was born in Oldham, Lancashire in 1902, the son of a choirmaster and a singing-teacher. He became a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and then an undergraduate at the University. His first composition to attract attention was a piano quartet written at the age of sixteen. At Oxford he made the acquaintance of the Sitwells who gave him friendship, moral and financial support and in 1922 he collaborated with Edith in devising the entertainment Facade. Less than ten years later, Osbert prepared the text of another masterwork, Belshazzar's Feast. From 1922 to 1927 Walton began to spend an increasing amount of time abroad, notably in Switzerland and Italy. The war years were devoted mainly to writing film and ballet scores and he became established as amongst the greatest composers for the screen.