Bax’s Sonata is in two movements and is largely lyrical in intent, the piano always playing a significant role. Two subject groups, each consisting of a theme and a subsidiary ‘tail’, are introduced, the first returning to round out the exposition. Both are elegiac, the first heart-on-sleeve, the second more introspective because more chromatic. Development and recapitulation merge almost indistinguishably, the latter extensively elaborated before the opening theme returns to round out the movement in twilight mood, all pink dusk and sunset shadows. The shorter second movement opens in contrasted moto perpetuo style with a brilliant scherzando theme and associated passage-work, later contrasted with a yearning lyrical melody, before this delicious score ends with the return of the theme of the opening and dies away to a quiet, contented close.
from notes by Lewis Foreman © 1995
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