The Adagio for cello and piano was one of the first chamber works Kodály officially acknowledged. It was originally composed in 1905 for violin and piano; he made the version for cello and piano in 1910 (there is also one for viola). The work is dedicated to the violinist Imre Waldbauer of the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet. Here Kodály still appears in post-Brahmsian guise. The piece is in a broadly ternary form, the slow romantic outer sections framing a slightly quicker and more overtly Hungarian-style central section. The third portion, in which the main melody reappears in higher registers against a modified background, subsides to a peaceful conclusion, though not before giving vent to a passionate outcry.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010