Also like the Sonata No. 3, the C minor sonata was composed in 1917 and premiered in 1918, but unlike the A minor sonata, it is in three movements:
Now let's listen to a Sviatoslav Richter performance:
- Allegro molto sostenuto
- Andante assai
- Allegro con brio, ma non leggiero
|Click to enlarge|
Boris Berman (whose book on the sonatas I linked in the first post) hears the semitone accompaniment motifs as references to Baroque trills. He also mentions the use of hemiola as another Baroque element. There seems to be an influence from Nikolai Medtner as well.
The Andante assai second movement is full of contrast with a bleak and somber chromatic first theme and a very tranquil and beautiful diatonic second theme (with more Baroque-style trills). The movement is in A minor with an important variation in G sharp minor.
Berman mentions that this sonata was written around the same time as the Classical Symphony (which was premiered just four days after that of the piano sonata) and he hears the third movement as a sardonic parody of the Classical piano style. The accompaniment is often a woozy version of the typical Alberti bass. There is also a return of some of the sixteenth-note semitone figures from the first movement. There is also a return of the kind of cadence we saw in the first movement:
Let's listen to a different performance to end. This is the young French pianist Rémi Geniet playing in the 2013 Reine Elisabeth competition: