The Sonata for Violin & Piano opens with a brooding theme in the first movement, moves on to an aggressively energetic scherzo in the second movement, a romanze with long lyrical lines, and closes with a relentless, furious tarantella.
Genre: Duet for Violin & Piano | # of Players: 2
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 18:30
Movement one of Sonata for Violin & Piano opens with a brooding theme which introduces the key to the construction of the entire sonata- half-step motions or “transformations” between triads. The first sonority in the piano is a triad with two half-step additions- a split third, and an added flat-six. This lyric theme is contrasted by a more declamatory second theme which nevertheless still features half-step transformations between chords. After a development and a recapping of both themes, the piano and violin intermingle both themes in the coda, further emphasizing the underlying similarities between the two themes.
Movement two is an aggressively energetic scherzo which is composed entirely of a few basic elements: a chromatic upper neighbor, a descending-third interval, and a chromatic scale. The half-step relations of the first movement are still in full force here, manifested in numerous ways throughout the movement.
Movement three, entitled “Romanze”, spins out long-breathed lyric lines of tonal melody in a quasi-siciliano style. The tension of the half-steps which controlled the other two movements is now relaxed into the warmth of the whole-step added tones in the piano. After a thoughtful middle section, the main idea returns as a canonic love-duet between the piano and violin, with the piano taking the lead and the violin following, in a slow and graceful dance.
Movement four, entitled “Alla Tarantella”, returns to the tension inherent in the first two movements through harmonic means (half-steps) as well as relentless motion in a furious tempo. The half step relations create both alternation of major and minor thirds here, as well as more “transformations” between chords. The sonata as a whole becomes rounded near the end of the movement, before a furious drive to the final cadence.
- Dan Forrest