|Year of Composition: ||1919|
|Samples: || Score Audio|
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adagio espressivo
III. Scherzo. Vivace, energico
IV. Finale. Allegro con fuoco
The Piano Sonata No. 1 in C-sharp minor was composed in Yalta, in 1919. The music of the Sonata mirrored the turbulent atmosphere of the time, in the aftermath of WWI, as well as deeply personal experiences of the composer who was then going through the period of especially intense learning and creativity, while recuperating from his illnesses at the Lithuanian Sanatorium in Yalta (where he, incidentally, also found his better half in nurse Stasė Petrauskaitė).
Gruodis subtitled his score as Patetico, which perfectly describes the prevalent mode of music: the Sonata is distinguished for its passionate flight and an open, somewhat exalted, emotionality. This is Gruodis's first large-scale work (also one of the first fully extant specimens of the genre in the history of Lithuanian music) that reveals both early influences, among which a number of Russian composers such as Piotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Glazunov and alexander Scriabin should be mentioned in the first place, and the emerging features of his distinct artistic personality and musical idiom - colourful harmonies, rhythmic variety and richness of texture.
Opulence and originality of the Sonata's musical language, along with the arresting emotionality and forceful expression, have secured a place for it in the history of Lithuanian music. however, it did not become a staple piece of the pianistic repertoire because of the technical demands it places on the performer. Most frequently only separate movements have been performed at concerts, instead of the full four movement sonata cycle.
Sonata cis-moll. - Kaunas: Aušros b-vė, 1926
J. Gruodis. Kūriniai fortepijonui I; ed. by Vytautas Landsbergis. Vilnius: Valstybinė grožinės literatūros leidykla, 1960
LP Juozas Gruodis. Chamber Music. - Melodiya C10-20901 006, 1984 (perf. Aleksandra Juozapėnaitė-Easmaa)
CD Juozas Gruodis. The Dance of Life. – Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre, LMIPC CD 063, 2011 (perf. Aleksandra Juozapėnaitė-Easmaa)