This group of three one-movement sonatas was dedicated to the memory of Andrey Bratenshi, the composer’s brother-in-law who committed suicide in 1906, though they were not written as a response to this event but were already nearing completion at the time. Published separately, they were not intended necessarily to be played as a set, nor did the composer himself ever do so. Although the Sonata in D minor bears the subtitle ‘Elegy’, and its lovely principal theme—like that of the third sonata—is consolatory in character, the overall mood of these works is sunny, as is emphasized by the vitality and optimism of all three codas. These sonatas mark an advance on their predecessor not only by the affecting lyricism of their themes, but also, as was foreshadowed in the second of the Op 8 Márchen
, by their more concentrated and intricate musical thought.
from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998