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Piano Sonata No. 2 : 'On the name of Grevis Beard'

by Tom Henry (2018)

Piano Sonata No. 2


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Piano Sonata No. 2 : 'On the name of Grevis Beard' / Tom Henry.

Library shelf no. 786.2183/HEN 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The work is in one continuous movement. All of the musical material in the work is derived in different ways from a short theme that is a musical representation of the name of 'Grevis Beard', to whom the work is dedicated, and for whom it was commissioned by his husband, Richard Knafelc.

This theme can be heard at the outset of the work, in a slow-moving and stately manner. It returns again, in similar vein, at the end of the work, this time embellished by a slow counterpoint. Inbetween, the theme is treated in a variety of ways, including by inversion (turning it upside down) and a number of other musical processes. This results in a number of contrasting textures, tempi and moods.

Optional singing and humming:
During the writing of the work the composer heard, in his inner ear, the words 'Heya' sung on the first two tones of the theme (G and E). He then attempted to find what the words meant, in this or other times. The best translation that could be found is 'a call to the spirits or ancestors'. As a result, the composer has written in optional singing and humming by the performer at various places from Bar 237 to the end, after the slow theme returns towards the end of the work. This seems to add a wider meaning to the work; something ancient and elemental. This is however genuinely optional as it may be found to be slightly eccentric for a Piano Sonata, and not to each performer's taste or inclination. Therefore, a performance without the singing and humming is considered by the composer just as valid as a performance with the vocalising.

Work Details

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Richard Knafelc on the 50th birthday of his husband Grevis Beard

First performance: by Chris Nankervis — 28 Feb 18. Surrey Hills, Vic


Performances of this work

28 Feb 18: Surrey Hills, Vic. Featuring Chris Nankervis.

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