Movement 1: Lento – Allegro – Assai animato
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Scherzo: Allegretto
The Adagio, in F major, opens gently, and soon a rising theme is heard—introduced by the piano, with the violin following closely—over pulsating triplet chords, and the dotted quaver–semiquaver figure with which this opens comes to dominate much of the music that follows. The lyrical eloquence of this movement draws its inspiration from instrumental precedents (again, there are echoes of Franck and Schumann among others).
The Allegretto finale contrasts a nervy first idea (with hints of Baroque ornamentation) with a rapturous tune in the major key that again suggests a young composer already starting to find a fluent and coherent voice of his own; while owing something (especially) to Brahms and his contemporaries, there is real individuality here too. The Sonata ends in a mood of quiet, slightly melancholy caprice, with Respighi resisting any temptation for a ‘big’ finish.
from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2012