Hyperion Records

Sonatina for two violins and piano
composer
1930

Recordings
'Martinů: Chamber Music' (CDD22039)
Martinů: Chamber Music
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'Milhaud: Sonata & Duo; Prokofiev: Sonata for two violins; Martinů: Sonatina' (CDA66473)
Milhaud: Sonata & Duo; Prokofiev: Sonata for two violins; Martinů: Sonatina
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Details
Movement 1: Allegro
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Track 11 on CDA66473 [2'23] Deleted
Movement 2: Andante
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Track 12 on CDA66473 [4'22] Deleted
Movement 3: Allegretto
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Track 13 on CDA66473 [3'09] Deleted
Movement 4: Poco allegro
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Track 14 on CDA66473 [2'46] Deleted

Sonatina for two violins and piano
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The Sonatina for two violins and piano was completed by the end of 1930. A comparatively short piece, under fifteen minutes’ duration and in four movements, the Sonatina brings together various strands within the one idiom: a plain neo-Classical formal outline, the occasional ‘blue’ false relation of jazz, and the inflexion of Moravian folk themes. However, even in such a straightforward outline of the work’s features, we may be surprised to encounter a less-than-predictable harmonic structure: the first movement is in G, the last in D.

The first movement is in the simplest ABA form, with a tiny coda tacked on. The violins keep at their quaver pulses virtually throughout, the music the most neo-Classical in spirit of the four. The second movement, in C minor, explores the instrumentation more questioningly with two-part writing for each violin (producing a four-part texture) answered by a gentle folk-idea in distant piano octaves—this constitutes the first part of another plain ABA design; soft-spanned G major chords against rising violin answers form the central section, with a reminiscent recapitulation of the opening part bringing the movement to a close in C major, the piano’s octave Bs as the leading note, but falling in fact to B flat for the vivacious Allegretto and Trio in 3/4 with each beat itself made up of triplets, producing a whirling 9/8 effect. The Trio is incredibly delicate and fragile before the Allegretto returns as before.

The finale, likewise, barely pauses for breath on its heady journey. The character of the music is more sturdy, more ‘Bach-like’ perhaps, and in this movement one can sense Martinu’s growing sense of delight in his fascinating medium, so much so that one can hardly envisage the music being conceived for any other ensemble. A marvellous piece—the final D leaving us wanting more, surprised that it is already the end. By the spring of 1932 Martinu had returned to the medium, producing an important Sonata for two violins and piano; and in 1937 and 1950 he wrote two Concertos for two violins and orchestra.

from notes by Kenneth Dommett & Robert Matthew-Walker © 1998

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66473 track 14
Poco allegro
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-47314
Duration
2'46
Recording date
12 June 1991
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Robert Menzies
Hyperion usage
  1. Milhaud: Sonata & Duo; Prokofiev: Sonata for two violins; Martinu: Sonatina (CDA66473)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: June 1992
    Deletion date: April 1998
    Deleted
  2. Martinu: Chamber Music (CDD22039)
    Disc 2 Track 10
    Release date: April 1998
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