• Lennox Berkeley
  • Sonatina in Eb major (1954)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • piano duet
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Sonatina For Piano Duet

1. Allegro moderato 2. Andante 3. Allegro

The Sonatino 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 which Berkeley had completed in that year.

Berkeley has 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 hands aids the transparency of the textures. (This is turn reveals the interplay, contrapunctal or otherwise, of the four hands which is fundamental to the structure as a whole.)

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

1983 James Rushton