No 1: Sonata-Reminiscenza in A minor: Allegretto tranquillo
No 2: Danza graziosa: Con moto leggiero
No 3: Danza festiva: Presto
No 4: Canzona fluviala: Allegretto con moto
No 5: Danza rustica: Allegro commodo
No 6: Canzona serenata in F minor: Moderato
No 7: Danza silvestra
No 8: Alla Reminiscenza: Quasi coda
Two dances follow: Danza graziosa, in which the high spirits of the syncopated dance melody are unexpectedly dampened by the stern and very Russian theme of the middle section; and the smiling Danza festiva, said to be an impression of a village festival and possibly inspired by a painting by the Flemish artist Teniers. The same bells that ring out in the opening bars also launch the fourth piece, the plaintive Canzona fluviala (‘River song’), in which there is no obvious connection between content and title beyond the flowing accompaniment.
Danza rustica, with its simple melody over a hypnotic drone bass, seems to evoke a country scene on a lazy summer’s day, while Canzona serenata (‘Night song’), opened and closed by the motto of recollection, is a plangent song, whose vaguely Latin air and consecutive thirds in the harmonization of its melody make it a distant cousin of Mendelssohn’s Venetian gondola song.
In the penultimate piece, Danza silvestra (‘Forest dance’), the gnarled syncopation of the first theme, perhaps conjuring up a picture of malevolent wood-sprites, gives way in the central section to a lyrical dance. At the end, another passing reference to the motto of recollection leads without a pause to Alla Reminiscenza, which rounds off the cycle in a mood of calm detachment with the theme with which it began, now at last in the major key.
from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998