Beginning with an impressionistic piano solo before the cello’s first entrance, the work is highly lyrical, showing some clear influence from Debussy’s Cello Sonata of 1915, but its melodic invention is redolent from first bar to last of Hungarian folk inspiration. The title ‘Sonatina’ refers to its curtailed sonata-form design, without a formal development section but rather with a much-transformed reprise of the opening material forming the second part of the structure. This begins with the piano’s initial theme in the cello, and rises to a passionate climax. The invention is fluid, and sometimes capriciously improvisatory, the piano providing a remarkable range of accompanying patterns when it is not the principal focus of attention. The coda eventually arrives at a kind of melancholic serenity.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010