Rachmaninoff disliked calling it a cello sonata because he thought the two instruments were equal. Because of this, it is often referred to as Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano. Most of the themes are introduced by the piano, while they are embellished and expanded in the cello’s part.
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As typical of sonatas in the Romantic period, it has four movements:
1. Lento – Allegro moderato (G minor)
2. Allegro scherzando (C minor)
3. Andante (E♭ major)
4. Allegro mosso (G major)
The work takes approximately 30 minutes to perform.