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Piano sonata

Digital Sheet Music [PDF]: Score

Piano sonata : [eScore] / Ross Edwards.

by Ross Edwards (2011)

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  • Instrumentation: Piano.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Bernadette Harvey from the CD Mantras and night flowers


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My Piano Sonata has three movements. The first, which uses some of the devices of the classical sonata-allegro, opens with pounding earth rhythms punctuated by joyful outbursts that sound like birdsong. The jagged shapes and pulses of this material persist throughout much of the movement in various guises, sometimes directly re-stated, sometimes modified, transformed or merely hinted at. A delicately textured pentatonic episode provides a central moment of inward reflection, characteristic of my music, but in this case perhaps unconsciously influenced by the wind chimes in my neighbour's garden.

As slow and sad as anything I've composed, the second movement - a simple three-part song form - flares briefly, and with a force that took me by surprise, into the Sancte Spiritus from my Dawn Mantras (which also marks the climax of my Third Symphony) before resuming its song of heartbreak. The last movement, I decided, needed to be cheerful. On a whim, I began by quoting one of my own children's pieces, the last of the Five Little Piano Pieces, composed thirty five years earlier in 1976. Piano teachers, my wife among them, have long reprimanded me for making this piece too hard for little fingers and it seemed fitting that I should now further elevate it into the realm of virtuosity by increasing the tempo. Composed in the Indonesian pelog nem scale, its heterophonic interplay of voices suggests a toy gamelan playing with impossible velocity. Its child-like optimism shines through, however, and I tried to sustain this in later sections by preserving its spirit and momentum and echoing some of its rhythms. Following a wild introductory birdcall, textures recalling the playful Bach of the Two- Part Inventions are immediately established: Western polyphony here supplants South East Asian heterophony but a common musical purport creates a link between the cultures - or at least it does for me. The children's music theme is reinforced by a fleeting but obvious Bach allusion.

Ross Edwards

Published by: Australian Music Centre (under licence from G.Schirmer Australia) — 1 digital (PDF) facsimile score (25p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced — The slow second movement (c.5 mins.) of is of medium difficulty and may be played on its own.

Duration: 12 mins, 30 sec.

Contents note:

I. Allegro -- II. Lento e mesto -- III. Animato.

Dedicated to Bernadette Harvey

First performance by Bernadette Harvey at Ross Edwards - retrospective (Verbrugghen Hall) on 9 May 2012

Includes programme note.

Commissioned by The University of Sydney and Professor Kim Walker, Dean and Principal of The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, under the Vice-Regal patronage of the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Piano sonata
Score: Piano sonata / Ross Edwards.

CD: Incantations / chamber music by Ross Edwards.

Mantras and night flowers
CD: Mantras and night flowers : Ross Edwards and Carl Vine / Bernadette Harvey.


- Browse other works published by Australian Music Centre (under licence from G.Schirmer Australia)

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Analysis & Media

- Video: Piano sonata by Ross Edwards

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