composition

Sonata No. 1

for Violin and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
  • Year completed
    1977
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    16:00
  • Catalog number
    086
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  • 2
    known performances
  • General notes
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The Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano was one of my earliest mature works, and appropriately, it is dedicated to my father, John Canfield, who gave me my first lessons in piano and composition when I was six years old. As a musician himself, he went out of his way to expose me to many different kinds of classical music. I have memories of sitting on his lap when I was about 10 reading scores to the Bartok String Quartets while listening to the recordings. My first sonata for any instrument had a difficult gestation, however, as it went through a major revision after its initial completion in 1975. After two movements were performed on my masters recital (all the performers had time to learn), I decided I did not like the two movements that had not been performed in the original four-movement work. Discarding those, i wrote a completely new finale, and the work shrank to the three-movement structure that was eventually published. The work is written in essentially a late-Romantic idiom, although some more modern harmonies and gestures are present in the solo introduction to the second movement. Although the last movement is a whirlwind exercise, it does briefly bring back the main theme of the first movement, giving the work a bit of cyclical structure.

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