Hyperion Records

Sonata in C sharp minor 'No 2', Op 80

'Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas' (CDA66939)
Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66939  Archive Service  
Movement 1: Allegro con fuoco
Track 2 on CDA66939 [8'48] Archive Service
Movement 2: Andante
Track 3 on CDA66939 [5'59] Archive Service
Movement 3: Scherzo: Allegro vivo
Track 4 on CDA66939 [6'04] Archive Service
Movement 4: Allegro vivo
Track 5 on CDA66939 [6'22] Archive Service

Sonata in C sharp minor 'No 2', Op 80
Much of Tchaikovsky’s music that remained in manuscript at his death was subsequently seen through the press by the Russian composer and pedagogue Sergey Taneyev (who also completed a number of unfinished works, notably the remaining two movements of the hastily issued third piano concerto—the Andante and Finale—which was published as Tchaikovsky’s Op 79). This accounts for the apparently late opus number of the C sharp minor Piano Sonata which, nonetheless, antedates his Op 1. Whilst it would not do to make exaggerated claims for this work, it is certainly better than its critics frequently allow: the bold gestures at the opening of the first movement, a transition passage which is echoed in Eugene Onegin, a typically yearning second subject, and a codetta suggestive of Romeo and Juliet all command notice. (Four bars unaccountably missing from the recapitulation of the second subject are here easily restored by analogy.)

The strangely formed Andante consists of a brief lyrical theme interrupted by a little flourish, followed by a mazurka-like interlude, a variation which retains the mazurka rhythm for an accompaniment, a brief reprise of the mazurka, and a short florid coda on the main theme. Clearly, the basic tempo requires several modifications for the various sections to combine happily, and Tchaikovsky makes his intentions clear by his rhythmic layout of the themes where they are combined.

The Scherzo marks the first outing for material which later occupied the same position in the first symphony, and draws attention to the fundamentally orchestral quality of Tchaikovsky’s piano-writing. Sweet though the trio section is, it does not quite match the equivalent but newly composed passage in the later symphony. It returns for the coda, which moves without a break into a dramatic Adagio designed to introduce the finale.

The busy opening of the Allegro vivo is more rhetorical than melodic, and in its youthfully gauche self-importance calls to mind the equivalent movement of Chopin’s early Op 4 Sonata. The second theme has many a characteristic of the later Tchaikovsky despite its reckless asymmetry of phrase, but nothing quite prepares the listener for the sudden abandonment of the main key (now enharmonically shifted to D flat major) at the coda, which only just manages to scramble home in triumph.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1997

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA66939 track 5
Allegro vivo
Recording date
9 November 1993
Recording venue
All Saints, Petersham, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Tryggvi Tryggvason
Recording engineer
Tryggvi Tryggvason
Hyperion usage
  1. Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas (CDA66939)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: March 1997
    Deletion date: July 2004
    Archive Service
  2. Tchaikovsky: Piano Sonatas (CDH55215)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: March 2006
    Deletion date: March 2013
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Superseded by CDA66939
   English   Français   Deutsch