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Piano Sonata #4 : A. Gramsci (solo piano)

by Michael Kieran Harvey (2018)

Also known as: Piano sonata No. 4

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Michael Kieran Harvey from the CD PRTZL

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PRTZL / chamber works composed by Michael Kieran Harvey.

Library shelf no. CD 3081 [Not for loan]

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Work Overview

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was an Italian philosopher and writer. The "Gramsci" sonata takes the seven individual letters of Gramsci's surname to construct a work inspired by his struggle against fascism. Classical music and in particular classical piano music has a manipulated image inextricably linked with upper class luxury, wealth and hegemony. This work seeks to provide a perspective on a figure critical of these connections, who faced many physical and political obstacles in his resistance to Mussolini, who thought him so dangerous he sentenced him to incarceration for 20 years. Although he was physically disabled, Gramsci's writings were powerfully influential. His credo was stoic: "Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will." The sonata is in a single movement and the prime number seven features significantly. Its mood is relentless and violent, with a deliberate harshness of tone. Moments of respite are brief, and the use of repetition is rhetorical. Extended techniques begin and end the work, symbolically overriding the intricate "hegemony" of the piano keys, and the role of the piano as an ancient form of music computer, in favour of direct human contact on the strings.

Work Details

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 25 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Virtuoso technique required

Dedication note: Dedicated to Arabella Teniswood-Harvey

Commission note: Commissioned by Kawai Australia.

First performance: by Michael Kieran Harvey — 15 Nov 18. MONA, Hobart


Performances of this work

20 Feb 2019: at Brunswick Beethoven Festival - "Live in Brunswick" (Brunswick Uniting Church). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

15 Nov 18: MONA, Hobart. Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

15 Nov 2018: at AMEB centenary celebrations (Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

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