I Write The Music

Carl Vine – Piano Sonata No. 1 – Uses Cross Rhythms

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on August 8, 2017

 

olla-vogala 

Published on Jan 11, 2016

– Composer: Carl Vine, AO (8 October 1954 — present)
– Performer: Michael Kieran Harvey
– Year of recording: 1991

Piano Sonata No. 1, written in 1990.

00:00 – I. [no dynamic tempo marking]
08:23 – II. Leggiero e legato

Australian composer Carl Vine uses a lot of open fourths and fifths in this piano sonata, and chords/arpeggios are often based on stacked fourths or fifths. The sonata is reminiscent in its form of Elliot Carter’s piano sonata, and in its intensity of Samuel Barber’s piano sonata.

Notes by the dedicatee, Michael Harvey:
“Drawing on the lithe beauty and contrapuntal elegance of the earlier Piano Sonata (1946) by Elliot Carter, the [1st] Piano Sonata by Carl Vine is a work characterised by intense rhythmic drive and the building up of layers of resonance. These layers are sometimes delicate and modal, archieving a ‘pointed’ polyphony by the use of complex cross-rhythm, at other times they are granite-like in density, creating waves of sound which propel the music irresistibly towards its climax.

The scheme is similar to the Carter Sonata – Two movements, with the slow section built into and defining the faster portions of the first movement. The second movement is based on a ‘moto perpetuo’ which soon gives way to a chorale section, based on parallel fifths.

In discussing the work, Vine is reticent about offering explanations for the compositional processes involved, feeling that these are self-evident, and indeed the work is definitely aurally ‘accessible’ on first hearing. However one of the main concerns in this sonata is the inter-relationship between disparate tempi, which is the undercurrent of the work and its principle binding element.

The work is dedicated to me and was commissioned by the Sydney Dance Company to be choreographed by Graeme Murphy. The first concert performance of this work was on 23 June 1991 in Melbourne. The first dance performance of Piano Sonata was in the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House in May, 1992.”

 

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