Movement 1: Moderato con moto
Movement 2: Allegro vivace
Movement 3: Andante
Movement 4: Allegro assai
There are two parts to the first theme of the Moderato con moto: a strong rhythmic motif marked appassionato e con espressione and a gentler rising theme accompanied by triplet chords. An animated transition passage leads to the second group of themes: a lyrical melody which is immediately extended and developed, and a codetta which contains two more melodic ideas, the second of which introduces the development after the exposition is repeated. All the themes other than the lyrical second subject play a part in the development, and the opening theme is treated fugally. The regular recapitulation is rounded off with a short coda.
The scherzo is a very powerful affair whose skittish moments are generally interrupted by gruff cadences on the off beats, and there is some occasional mildly experimental dissonance. The calmer trio section curiously calls to mind the Grieg of the Lyric Pieces, with its two-bar phrases and delicate syncopations.
The slow movement is very generous with melody—the exposition contains seven distinct themes, three in the home key of F major before a more animated theme in 5/8 introduces D flat. A modulatory theme leads to the second subject and codetta in C major. Development is confined to the first of the themes, but the recapitulation introduces many variations in texture and tonality. A second development turns out to be a long valediction on the first subject group.
The finale is a very busy moto perpetuo with a theme appearing in octaves in the bass before it undergoes the first of many transformations. A brief attempt at a lyrical second theme is doomed by the insistent return of the first for development, but a more expressive section intervenes before the recapitulation, in which the second subject finally takes wing before precipitating headlong into the conclusion.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1996