First performed in a concert of the Swiss Computer Music Center with soloist Franziska Staeheli. Later performances in Bern (with a short lecture about it by me) and in Schaffhausen. Bruno Spoerri also played the tape abroad, in a demonstration of our work here.
Preparation for the work involved analysis of several Chinese instruments; Ch’in (a zither), gong and wood block. The wave analysis was done with a computer program and my imitations were realized on the Computer Music Center’s DMX. There are two sets of texts: from the Tao Te Ching (Lao Tse) and from the I Ching. The Lao Tse texts were chosen by me and set with traditional notation. The I Ching texts were chosen by chance (with the computer) and set with a computer generated graphic notation. Proportions within the piece were also made with a computer program using chance and units of Golden Section. (More details in the introduction to the score).
This piece could be performed with two singers: one singing the Tao texts, the other singing the I Ching texts.
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.