Sonata for piano Op.50 is perhaps the most ambitious piano work by Kharitonov. It is constructed in four movements: I. Allegro risoluto, II. Lento, III. Tarantella, IV. Marcia Funebre.

First movement is written in sonata form. The exposition presents a conflict of several opposing themes that later assures an immense dramatic expansion of musical material throughout the development. The composer resorted to using  contrapuntal writing in fugato and in the following basso ostinato sections to achieve a colossal dramatic climax in the recapitulation. In the midst of all the authoritative dissonances, a beautiful second theme would most certainly enchant the listener.

Second movement alludes to a melancholic nocturne  with a great sense of nostalgia. However the composer does not leave it at piece and music finds yet new heights and depths in the world of unconscious with its powerful images, of which some are truly frightening.

Third movement is called Tarantella. This fast dance somewhat restores the balance of action with its energetic articulate character. It has clearly the most tonal tendencies amongst all the movements. Supposedly festive C major ends the movement with hopes to hear the following Finale in brighter colors and perhaps triumphant character.

 

Yet the final movement of the sonata is nothing less than a funeral march. The Marcia Funebre consists of several improvisations/variations on a walking bass. It results in yet another enormous climax where various  materials from previous movements appear. Sonata ends with distant mournful bell-like sounds. Other Russian composers come to mind with their bell symbolism: Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Rachmaninoff's famous intro to his 2nd piano concerto and "The Bells", as well as Prokofiev's 2nd piano sonata and 2nd piano concerto respectively.

 

The sonata by Kharitonov exhibits a vast range of musical characters, transcendental pianism, exceptional colors, and an unforgettable emotional charge.

The duration is approximately 20 minutes.

                                                                                           Charles Boedig, PhD

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