This work is dedicated to the composer’s piano teacher, Rosemary Miller Stott. It is in three contrasting movements. The first, an allegro, is in sonata form, and features nervous, darting ideas which become more animated in the middle section. The second movement opens with a chorale-like theme, expressing feelings of nostalgia. The fidgety middle section builds up more tension, before being combined with the chorale theme. The finale releases the tensions of the earlier movements, and has a happy, sunny character. Initially inspired by a Beethoven sonata, the rondo theme builds up to a big climax before ending quietly.
Piano Sonata 1988 (opus 29) was written when the composer was Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago.
The first movement contains two contrasting elements. The first element is thematic material of a clearly defined character and this occurs at varying pitches during the course of the movement. The second element which has a transitional and developmental function is a harmonic transformation of the thematic material of the first element.
The second movement takes the form of a “quasi-valse” which contains with it an “adagio espressivo” section, inward-looking and sombre in character. The movement closes with another slow section (“molto lento e tristamente”) which serves as the resolution, both structurally and emotionally of the sonata as a whole.