Hyperion Records

Sonatina
composer
probably the movement composed in 1922 as a replacement first movement for the 1909/10 Sonata for cello and piano, Op 4
editor
published in 1969

Recordings
'Kodály: Cello Sonata & other works' (CDA67829)
Kodály: Cello Sonata & other works
Details
Track 4 on CDA67829 [8'42]

Sonatina
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Kodály composed his Sonata for Cello and Piano Op 4 in 1909–10. Though this was originally a work in three movements, he was dissatisfied with the first of them and allowed the Sonata to be performed, as it has been to this day, as a two-movement diptych. In 1922, when it was to be published, he made a new attempt to compose a first movement, but again was unhappy with the result—this time because he felt his idiom had developed too far in fresh directions—and decided not to combine the new movement with the two existing ones. The Sonatina for cello and piano, published in 1969 in an edition by the cellist and musicologist Lev Ginzburg (1907–1981), is believed to be the movement he wrote in 1922.

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

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