Sonata VI (Patterns on a Field)

Duration: 12:00
Date of Composition: 1986
Recording by Lisa Moore on CRI: CRI CD 869
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PROGRAM NOTES: Patterns on a Field (Sonata No. 6), completed in September 1985, is constructed of various musical patterns, placed and displaced on a field of common time (alla breve).  From a perspective of earlier Western music, the patterns may sound like motives, but they do not actually “motivate” the piece.  Instead, they merely appear and reappear, relative to the stasis of the field.  The overall form is simply the alternation of verses with a refrain.  Each of the verses is newly invented, whereas the refrain, though slightly varied with each appearance, always makes clear its identity.  This regularity of form, steadiness of the beat, and repetition of clear-cut patterns lend to the work a temporal stability and insistence often encountered in certain styles of rock and minimalism.  In effect, it decidedly invites toe tapping.             

-James Sellars