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Sonata for piano four hands : piano duo (4 hands)

by Carl Vine (2009)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Anna Grinberg, Liam Viney from the CD Works by Percy Grainger, Robert Davidson, Carl Vine, Matthew Hindson.

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Four hands


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Four hands : Australian music for piano / Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo.

Library shelf no. CD 2793 [Not for loan]

Sonata for piano four hands


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Sonata for piano four hands / Carl Vine

Library shelf no. 785.62121/VIN 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

In my earlier piano sonatas I occasionally wished that the soloist could grow an extra hand to manage all of the requisite notes. In the long run, adding an extra player seemed more prudent, and it now seems odd to me that the "four hand sonata" has enjoyed so little popularity since the nineteenth century. This is my first attempt to make a concert work of solid substance using those two extra hands which, by playing on the same (well-maintained and tuneful) instrument, have a distinct advantage over their 'duo' brethren if the two instruments concerned aren't perfectly attuned to each other.

The work falls into five sections played without a break. The extended, heavily rhythmic Prelude opens with a declamatory introduction revolving around a sequence of 16-note chords which, in just two bars, sound 65 of the 88 notes on the keyboard. This leads to a gentle Waltz demanding great flexibility and sensitivity from the players. The central section, Deuces, methodically explores the 6 unique (non-directional) pairings of 4 hands: 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4 and 3-4. Each pair shares, in turn, a leading melody while the remaining two hands provide mellifluous interlinking accompaniments.

The pairings evolve into a short, energetic bridge passage that falls precipitously to a reflective Meditation luxuriating in the sonorous resonance of a piano keyboard caressed by 20 fingers. This is succeeded by a fast-paced Toccata in triplet rhythms that progresses to a pounding finale.

It is 'pure' music with no specific accompanying narrative or poetic allusion.

Carl Vine, 8 October 2009

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Piano duo, 4 hands.

Duration: 23 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Kim Walker, University of Sydney.. Commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

First performance: at The Key to Vine (Verbrugghen Hall) on 22 Nov 2009

Performances of this work

7 Mar 14: Old First Church, San Francisco, USA. Featuring ZOFO Piano Duet.

27 Jan 14: Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff AZ USA. Featuring ZOFO Piano Duet.

26 Jan 14: Helmet Concert Association, Hermet, CA, USA. Featuring ZOFO Piano Duet.

3 May 2010: at 88 Keys (Conservatorium Recital Hall). Featuring Sydney Conservatorium Keyboard Staff.

22 Nov 2009: at The Key to Vine (Verbrugghen Hall).

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