The Piano Sonata No 2 was written in 1901 and is dedicated to N N Elenkovsky, Glazunov’s own piano teacher. In common with the First Piano Sonata, written the previous year, it is formidably challenging. The first movement is the most passionate, with lush harmonies and polyphonic interest. The Scherzo second movement is the most technically demanding and has been described by the pianist Leslie Howard as ‘a treacherous study in double notes in no way relieved by the faster toccata of the trio section’. Whether Glazunov conceived his two piano sonatas to be performed as a pair is debatable. However, it is unlikely that their key relationship (an augmented fourth apart: equidistant from each other—No 1 in B flat minor and No 2 in E minor) was accidental. It would take a brave pianist, however, to programme them together in a recital.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 1996