Piano Sonata No. 2 (Shostakovich)

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Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 61 was composed in 1943 in Samara, where he had been evacuated due to the Siege of Leningrad, and was premiered by Shostakovich himself on June 6, soon after moving to Moscow. It was his first piano composition since the 1933 Preludes op.34.

Dedicated to his former teacher Leonid Nikolayev, it consists of three movements with the following markings:

1. Allegretto

The tragic first movement begins with legato runs. A semplice dotted 16th note melody is played with the left hand while the right hand plays chord inversions. The main difficulty of this movement contains wide jumps and lots of accidentals. Most of the movement contains 16th notes. The movement ends loudly.

2. Largo

The second movement is very haunting. Beginning with a rubato melody. Strange melodies, accidentals, challenging dynamics, and lots of articulation are included in this movement. After some mezzo staccato major 2nds in the left hand, the movement ends very, very quietly in a whisper.

3. Moderato

The final movement is very depressing, beginning with a Moderato con moto melody in the right hand. Shortly after, the left hand joins in. This movement contains 8th note triplets, 64th note triplets, and a haunting chromatic melody halfway to the end. The movement also contains a minor 9th and a minor 10th. A tritone is also included. The ending section closes the movement, with 16th notes. At the final close, the movement ends almost in a whisper.


  • François-René de Tranchefort and al., Guide de la Musique de Piano et de Clavecin. André Lischke, 'Dimitri Chostakovitch' pages 250-251.