Tuesday, September 02, 2014

That second sonata

Profiting from an early rise, while we still have unlimited bandwidth, I've uploaded sound files to my second piano sonata, Sonata compositio ut explicatio, to my website, and you can hear the whole piece now by streaming it.

It's an undertaking, for the sonata is an hour long. I've written about it here before, and won't add anything more here.

The three movements are available separately, but of course I'd prefer you listen to the whole thing, perhaps as background music…

First movement (32:15)
Second movement (5:21)
Third movement (20:04)

You're welcome.


Curtis Faville said...


I just listened to the first movement.

I tend to think of longer musical pieces as either episodic, or as a single arc. The first or third (or fourth) movement of the romantic and post-romantic sonata tended to be like a journey, in which various crises and challenges were experienced, either put to rest or vanquished.

Is this typical of your musical identity, in the sense of not being over-emotional and histrionic?

In your piece, I see a more static progression. There's no hastening of the pace, no dramatic rise in emotional level. It goes along and encounters various things, none of which rise to the stage of real pleasure, danger, or concern. There are a lot of sophisticated tonal shades of feeling, none of which seem to be compelling enough to develop into themes--though my ability to trace tonal elaboration in pieces like this is limited.

Is this typical of your compositional style--I mean being somewhat less histrionic?

Charles Shere said...

All good points, and questions. First, thanks for your assessment. You know the sonata is inspired by Gertrude Stein's lecture Composition as Explanation, which accounts for the "static progression" — I very much like your oxymoronic formula — which is very much intended.

I don't know if this is "typical" of my music. I suppose it began in my 1996 Trio for violin percussion and piano, which was the first of what I think of as my "late style" pieces — the music of an old man. Since about then my days have been almost exactly what you describe: "encounters [with] various things, none of which rise to the stage of real pleasure, danger, or concern. " You're wrong about pleasure; I take great pleasure in contemplation. I am not interested in "development," never really have been. It seems such an ego-driven thing. Perhaps : "Composition as Contemplation."