Piano Sonatas Nos 1-4
These piano sonatas were composed over a period of two years -- the first two in 2001, the second two in 2002. Perhaps because they were composed in such a compressed time frame, the four have more in common than would likely be the case had they been composed over a longer period of time. In a very real sense, they could be thought of as chapters in one 70+ minute long elegy concerning time and loss. Note: I did significant revision of the four sonatas in 2008, especially sonatas no.1 and no.2. The revised sonatas are the versions on this CD. The first sonata, subtitled REQUIEM FOR BOB SIEGLER, is dedicated to a composer friend who died in 1992. The genesis of the work was a chord I struck one evening while doodling on a piano keyboard. The chord consisted of D above middle C, B-flat, A. Played in descending order, the motif suggested to me a sense of loss and sadness. I wrote down the chord and gave it a name: pathos. Over the next few days, the motif kept popping into my head. Finally, I decided to see what I might do with it. So began the composition of the sonata. Over the next two weeks, I had a series of dreams in which my old friend appeared. These dreams took on almost the dimension of a haunting. I began to think of the music in terms of an 'in memoriam' -- and so gave it the subtitle, REQUIEM FOR BOB SIEGLER. Sonata No. 2, THE WALDORF PAGES, takes it's subtitle from an unabashedly sleazy skid row dive, long extinct, that used to be in downtown Los Angeles on Main St. To me, it seemed L.A.'s contemporary answer to the imaginary American hole created by Milhaud and Cocteau in their celebrated post-WWI ballet, LE BOEUF SUR LE TOIT. Friends I took to The Waldorf for a drink were not always so sanguine about this romantic assessment! Sonata No. 3, IN TIME OF WAR, was composed at white heat in the months following the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11/2001 on the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. This music has greater heft and muscularity than the previous sonata, and also is of more universal intent than Sonata No. 1. Sonata No. 4, UNE SAISON EN ENFER, takes it's subtitle from the title of a book by the late l9th Century French poetic prodigy, Arthur Rimbaud. This sonata continues the larger, more complex format of the Third Sonata, and is an homage to Rimbaud that seeks to portray this poet's tumultuous life.