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Sonata #3 for Solo Piano "The Dodecahedral Sonata" (PART 7)

Elia, Anthony J.

The Piano Sonata #3 (Named the “Dodecahedral Sonata” because of its 12-parts or “sides”) was written in June 2013 for NYC pianist Ishmael Wallace, over the course of ~48 hours. Over the last decade and a half, the composer struggled to complete a full solo piano sonata, attempting several times. While attempts had been made in the late 1990s and early 2000s to write such a piece, it wasn't until 2008, with the Piano Sonata #1, that a serious undertaking was made. This first sonata was (inspired by) and composed after hearing a piano work commissioned for Elliot Carter played on the radio by Chicago pianist Winston Choi. Unfortunately, only 25 pages of this one-movement sonata were completed, and by 2013, the manuscript had been misplaced. In the Spring of 2013, the Piano Sonata #2 was begun around the 100th Anniversary of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” Premiere --a homage to Stravinsky's work. Six pages were composed of this next sonata (the “Uncontrolled Sonata”), after which the composer’s notation software malfunctioned. Soon after, the composer had a conversation with his friend, the pianist Ishmael Wallace. After this conversation about compositional styles with Mr. Wallace, which took place on a Wednesday (June 5th), two days later, on Friday, June 7th, the composer began working on the Piano Sonata #3, which is presented here, and completed the 12-part work by that same Sunday, June 9th. Each part has a distinct flavor to it; Part 10, the shortest of all the composer’s works, consists of “10-note” multi-dimensional 16th note in one measure. Though performers and critics might find this “gimmicky,” it’s meant to express the various forms of musical expression in the complexity of the sonata form, and how it has been altered, augmented, and re-created in this present work. Part 12 is a recapitulation, almost identical to Part 1 with slightly broader complexity of notation, and both the first and last sections are to be performed with bold and sweeping power. As with most of the composer’s works, minimalism in dynamics and articulation offers performers a greater sense of freedom and flexibility of interpretation.

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Academic Units
Burke Library
Published Here
July 25, 2013
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