Sonata for Cello & Piano
|Commissioned by:||Virgil & Lynn Roth
for Pacific Serenades
|Premiered by:||David Speltz, cello
Joanne Pearce Martin, piano
As is almost always true with my music, this piece is rather eclectic, various styles being blended and juxtaposed, reflecting my varied musical roots and interests. The opening and closing movements are both rather busy, the first one often agitated and the last an upbeat dance. The middle movement begins and ends in relative calm, though in its middle section a high singing melody in the cello evolves into a sort of subdued anguish. The third movement deserves special note here, as it is based on a kind of dance and song peculiar to Venezuela, the merengue, which is in 5/8 time. My fascination with this kind of music stems from three trips to Venezuela, during which I began to explore the folk and popular music of this uniquely multi-cultural country. My piece here is not meant to be a replica of the merengue so much as a kind of synthesis of its rhythms and overall form and my own language. I guess I am sort of a stylistic sponge: music that I hear and am attracted to often gets absorbed into my personal vocabulary. This movement is a further manifestation of my long-standing attraction to South American popular music, and I have a hunch that it will be one of a number of pieces influenced by Venezuelan music.
I wrote the piece especially for David Speltz and Joanne Pearce Martin. It was commissioned by Virgil & Lynn Roth for Pacific Serenades and was premiered in 1998.