Bartók was personally very attached to this work. He, and his wife, took part in its Swiss première in 1938, and also gave its earliest performances in several European countries and the United States. It is now a mainstay of the percussion and two-piano literature. Although intended for two very nifty percussionists, some early performances seem to have required a battery of approaching half a dozen players! Bartók included two-piano works by Mozart, Debussy and Stravinsky, as well as the two-piano arrangement of his Suite op.4b, to accompany this Sonata on his programs.
Note by Malcolm Gillies