Op. 22 – Caucasus Sonata


  1. The Black Sea
  2. Scherzo
  3. Romance
  4. Caucasian Journey

A virtuoso piece requiring technique and stamina, the Caucasus Sonata should fill the listener with the sensation of traveling great distances through mysterious territory. I imagine it as a journey through the Black Sea into Central Asia. The first movement, The Black Sea, is dark and hazy, like a boat enshrouded in fog. The mists lift briefly for a mysterious burst of light before settling in again. The final movement, Caucasian Journey, the longest of the four, is an eastern-flavored dance in 5/8 time with dramatic and introspective episodes.

The Caucasus Sonata presents many contrasting styles — the middle movements in particular reflect the influence of American popular musical styles — but the thematic material interpenetrates all four movements to an extent that it forms a continuous development towards a final outcome.

The light-hearted Scherzo could be played independently as a brilliant encore piece, and the third movement, though linked without pause to the finale, is also provided with an alternative ending for performance as a separate work.

The Caucasus Sonata has been recorded by pianist Anna Kislitsyna in the CD A Grand Journey on Navona Records.