• Lennox Berkeley
  • Sonatina for guitar, Op. 52 no.1 (1957)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by and dedicated to Julian Bream

  • guitar
  • 11 min

Programme Note

Lennox Berkeley

Sonatina Opus 52

Solo guitar (with fingering by Julian Bream)
Three movements in A major
Rondo; Allegro non troppo
Commissioned by and dedicated to Julian Bream

Berkeley worked in close association with performers he admired, and his collaboration with Julian Bream, who commissioned the Sonatina, also yielded the Songs of the Half-Light Opus 65 (1964) for Bream with Peter Pears and the Guitar Concerto Opus 88 (1974)

The Sonatina Opus 52, No 1, uses traditional forms but offers many surprises in its harmonic and rhythmic shifts. The first movement is (broadly speaking) cast in traditional sonato form, with a lilting melody as its main motif. The second movement begins with a simple, very Spanish idea which is twisted into a rich variety of patters almost in the manner of a Bach slow movement! The third movement is in rondo form, but not very strictly, although the approach is thoroughly contrapuntal. Berkeley’s method in composing for guitar shows his natural sensitivity to instrument and idiom, with particularly effective use of pizzicato, artificial harmonics and muted broken chords, all important features of 20th-century guitar technique.


Guitar Sonatina, Op. 52, No. 1: I. Allegretto
Guitar Sonatina, Op. 52, No. 1: II. Lento - Tempo rubato
Guitar Sonatina, Op. 52, No. 1: III. Rondo: Allegro non troppo - Lento


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