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Sonatina for piano duet, Op 39


The Sonatina for piano duet was written in 1954. It is one of a number of smaller-scale compositions which appeared during the period of relaxation that followed the hard work of the grand opera Nelson, completed earlier in the same year. Berkeley had long appreciated both the musical and the social enjoyment to be gained from the piano-duet medium. His experience tells in the Sonatina. In all three movements the judicious spacing and interweaving of the hands aids the transparency of the textures.

Harmonically, the interval of the fourth is decisive and its use is typical of Berkeley’s method at the time. This, combined with strong rhythmic interest, gives the work a neo-classic feel. Of equal importance, however, as always in Berkeley’s music, are the contrasting sections where melody predominates.

from notes by James Rushton © 1983


Berkeley: A Centenary Tribute
CDH55135Archive Service


Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Track 1 on CDH55135 [3'04] Archive Service
Movement 2: Andante
Track 2 on CDH55135 [2'29] Archive Service
Movement 3: Allegro
Track 3 on CDH55135 [2'45] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDH55135 track 1

Allegro moderato
Recording date
14 June 1983
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Berkeley: A Centenary Tribute (CDH55135)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: May 2003
    Deletion date: August 2008
    Archive Service
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