6 AUGUST 2018 / SONATA
13 March 2018,
Piano, Felicia Ng
This is one of the first pieces I wrote after a 6-7 year hiatus from composition. During this time I played very little cello, and wrote almost no music. Almost all of my creative output during this time was with various jazz, and improvisatory groups in New York and New Orleans. The Piano Sonatina, and the set Muzak for Cellos are the first two pieces I wrote after this long break. These pieces share a common harmonic language, and a return to classical forms. While writing the last few pieces before this break, I was very interested in exploring how musical form affects the overall reception of a piece. This is still an interest of mine, but as will see the Piano Sonatina remains rooted in classical formal structures.
Written in four movements, the overarching form is sort of a sonata form within a sonata form. The first movement acts as an exposition, the second and third as the development section and the fourth movement as the recapitulation. The entirety of the piece utilises the first movement’s opening three-measure pitch set:
Within this large ‘double’ sonata form, the individual movements take on micro-forms that function as short stories in a collection.
The first movement is through composed with two contrasting melodic themes that end in a tranquil compromise. Movement two is a mixed-metre dance in A-A-B-A form.
The third movement loosely follows a theme and variations form, however the variations occur not to the melody, but instead to the textures and colours of the piece. The result is a sort of always searching melody that guides you through different sound environments. Finally, the fourth movement is a recitative comprised of spastic erratic gestures interrupted by soft introspective commentary.
LISTEN TO A RECORDING