No 1: Meditazione: Introduzione, quasi Cadenza – Meno mosso – Meditamente
No 2: Romanza: Meditamente
No 3: Primavera: Vivace
No 4: Canzona matinata in G major: Allegretto cantando, ma sempre con moto
No 5: Sonata tragica in C minor: Allegro risoluto
There are hints that Canzona matinata (‘Morning song’), carefree in its outer sections but melancholy in the middle, depicts the morn of life, youth, with its generally sunny but occasionally black moods, in contrast to the struggles and tragedies of later life. The latter theme is implicit in the final work of the cycle, the Sonata tragica, which the composer always insisted should be preceded by a performance of the Canzona matinata. A remarkable intensity of emotion is concentrated in its single movement. Typically for Medtner, the two apparently contrasting main themes, the first tragic and launched by what sounds like a blow of fate, the second consolatory, prove to be one and the same in different guises. In the development there is an almost literal restatement of the sombre central theme from the Canzona matinata but there is little relief. Tension mounts in the recapitulation, and the work moves inexorably towards a devastating coda, which concludes with the blow of fate with which the sonata began.
from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998