The Sonata Minacciosa
gives explicit and extended expression to the sense of threat underlying the preceding work. Medtner called it his ‘most contemporary composition’, explaining that it reflected ‘the threatening atmosphere of contemporary events’, though it was also probably as much affected by his own recent misfortunes. In one long movement, which exhaustively treats only a small amount of material, the work arguably shows Medtner at his most rigorously intellectual. In particular, the development section incorporates an elaborate fugal episode, and is remarkable as much for the range of tonalities through which it passes as for its rhythmic freedom. In a tailpiece to the coda, the composer ends the sonata in characteristic fashion with an outburst of defiant optimism.
from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998