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SONATA II

 

Sonata II is in three movements cast around the slow-fast-slow pattern.  The introspective opening movement consists of a dramatic statement with many meter changes.  It employs harmonies built around fourths and melodic lines that make frequent use of major and minor seconds.  The use of an expansive range on the keyboard gives the feeling of contemplating questions from the deep reaches of the human soul and reaching out to beyond oneself for answers.

 

The contrasting, toccata-like second movement entitled Capriccio is more triadic than the first movement.  The use of the lower and upper ranges of the instrument provides a sweep to the flow of the music to intensify the playfulness.

 

The distinctly D-minor opening of the Finale gives way to a fast passage where two polyrhythms create drive and excitement.  The music reverts to the slower opening tempo before gradually reaching its fast paced conclusion.  The contrapuntal and triadic writing at the end creates a whirlwind finish.  The listener might wonder if this is an expression of angst or something more joyful and positive.

 

– Dr. Richard McKee

 

 

Night Visions Suite

 

Night Visions Suite explores the sonorities of the piano. Utilizing the full range of the keyboard as well as the strings of the piano, Night Visions invites listeners to use their imagination. Are there sounds that evoke visions of a gong, perhaps thunder, or rustling leaves?  For some listeners, a piece might evoke memories of events. Intervals of seconds, fourths and sevenths and extensive use of pedal combine to create illusions or visions that vary according to each individual’s experience.

 

- Betty Wishart

 

 

TOCCATA III

 

Toccata III uses seconds, fourths, sevenths and octaves to propel the driving eighth and sixteenth notes from beginning to end.

 

- Betty Wishart

 

 

SONATA

 

Sonata (“the Kohinoor”) is written as three movements-in-one:  slow-fast-slow. Intervals of seconds, fourths and sevenths appear both melodically and harmonically throughout each section and bind the sections together.

 

The "Adagio" opens with a chord cluster of seconds followed by a melody that asks “can this be true.”  The movement conveys a sense of yearning and disbelief.

 

The "Scherzo" begins with quick staccato sixteenth notes. Not accepting the statement as truth, one fights and looks for alternative solutions. The movement culminates with alternating ascending and descending sevenths accelerating into a fortissississimo arm cluster.

 

The final Adagio arises from the remaining sounds of the cluster.  Not yet completely accepting fate, a few questions remain.  Then, finally accepting fate, the piece comes to a quiet resolution.

 

- Betty Wishart

 

 

Variations on a Folk Melody

 

Variations on a Folk Melody is based on a straight-forward pentatonic hymn-like tune heard unaccompanied at the beginning of the work. The twelve variations that follow differ in terms of mood, dynamics and texture.  Each variation builds on elements found in the theme while exploring polytonality, contrapuntal devices and diverse pianistic possibilities.

 

- Betty Wishart

 

 

 

REMEMBRANCE

 

Remembrance is a remarkably expressive piece that covers a depth of human experience in a very short time. Part of its effectiveness is its economy of ideas –  from the opening statement of melancholy and anguish (set in G-minor), followed by a lyrical section in major keys, to the concluding outburst and quiet resolution (again in G-minor), the music takes us through a journey of loss, recollection and  grief. The stunning ending leaves us with a sudden feeling of completeness of expression, leaving us with a quiet statement of the dissonance loss causes, yet with hope in life. The conciseness of expression adds considerable power to its  effectiveness.

 

- Dr. Richard McKee

 

 

TOCCATA II

 

Toccata II is a virtuosic piece that plays with seconds, sevenths and fourths in various rhythmic combinations, yet stays centered on the tonality of A.  The driving sixteenth-note rhythm is often punctuated by eighth-note “pauses” and sections with quarter-note chords that give definition to the structure and provide breaks for the listener as well as the performer.  The triplet sixteenth repeated notes add urgency to the driving rhythm.  This work requires not only fast fingers, but also excellent wrist technique.  The rapid ending creates an exhilarating and satisfying conclusion.

 

- Dr. Richard McKee

 

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