Sonata IIi

Duration: 9:00
Date of Composition: 1983-97
Recording by Aki Takahashi on CRI: CRI CD 869
Click to buy from

PROGRAM NOTES: The Piano Sonata III was begun in 1983 and not completed until 1997.  During the intervening fourteen years so much had happened in the classical music world – postmodernism, post-minimalism, neo-romanticism, synthesizers and computers linked by MIDI – that I found it strange, if not too difficult, to pick up the thread of the Sonata’s concentrated musical style and continue.  Certainly, my decision to repeat literally one section in the Sonata was influenced by all the musical changes that occurred in those years: back in 1983, repeats of any kind were strictly taboo.  However, when working over the piece I felt the constant development and variation of the musical ideas was too much for any listeners but specialists, and I decided to allude to the traditional sonata form by introducing a recapitulation of the opening.  Reflecting this large, formal repeat is the immediate “reiteration,” always varied, of the opening motives on the small scale.  The complicated rhythms that result might be compared to the random ringing of bells.  Throughout the work the reiteration of the ringing motive is interrupted by extended episodes that explore various contemporary pianistic techniques. -James Sellars