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THIS performance of a striking pianoforte work is the second of that series, the first of which was devoted to Beethoven's Hammerklavier
Sonata. The works in this scries will be such as on account of their length do not come within the scope of ordinary programmes. They will be interpreted by players who bring to their interpretation high executive skill.
Liszt's Sonata, one of his few works without a 'programme,' was written in 1853 or 1854, and dedicated to Schumann.
The Sonata is in one continuous Movement, its themes undergoing changes of mood and its sections worked into a whole with ingenuity and power. It begins with a few bars of slow music containing a descending theme, and goes on to a quick, imperious tune which is almost at once joined by a bold knocking theme in the bass. Much peremptory challenging music is based on . these two ideas, and then the descending. originally slow figure returns, to bring in a grandiose hymn-like tune in a major key, accompanied by throbbing chords.
Soon we hear an expressive tune. beginning with five repeated notes, singing out aloft. This, it will be heard, is an example of Liszt's metamorphosis of themes, for it is the tune we heard in the bass, in another mood, soon af ten the quick part began.
We have now got hold of the chief material-the (at first slow) descending tune, the two that ' opened the ball' so energetically, and the broad hymn-like one. Easily to follow Liszt's dealings with them only requires familiarity with the work.
Its second main division is in three-time. Here the themes show themselves in richly sentimental vein, now peaceful, then impassioned. The descending theme of the Introduction again enters, leading us to the third and last section of the Sonata. Here begins some brisk, incisive fugal work, and with restatements of the themes we know, the work moves on to its end in a blaze of excitement. Just for a moment we hear a strain from the slow section, and then, very slowly, the descending theme of the Introduction brings down the curtain on the Sonata.
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