Sonata makes clear references to French impressionistic music of the early 20th century (Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel), and these are particularly audible in the characteristic formation of the melodic and harmonic line which is based mostly on spread chords. This twenty-minute-plus work is divided into three traditional fast-slow-fast movements: I. Allegro, II. Adagio ma non troppo, III. Andante-Allegretto-Andantino.
Lutosławski wrote his Sonata with himself as the pianist in mind, and it reflects on his pianistic proficiency. It was first publicly performed - to favourable reviews - at the Conservatory students' concert in 1935.
This is how Piotr Rytel commented on Sonata:
"This work reveals a highly likeable creative talent, founded on a noble base. What is particularly striking in 'Sonata' is the penchant for contemplation, sincerity of expression and - what is most characteristic - total lack of interest in effects of an external nature, especially the apparent avoidance of any mass, basically common sounds" ("Gazeta Warszawska", 16th February 1935).
Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne published Piano Sonata ten years after Lutosławski's death.
Prepared by the Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2005.