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Sonata (1956)

for piano

Year:  1956   ·  Duration:  18m

Year:  1956
Duration:  18m

Composer:   Douglas Lilburn

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Douglas Lilburn: Complete P...

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Douglas Lilburn: Piano Sona...

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Sample Score

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"This work was written in the early 'fifties and revised in 1956. So, it falls about midway between my earlier piano works and the later, more popular, Sonatina No. 2.

It may reflect some transition of style, and also some stress of moving from the South Island to what proved to be a congenial new context of Wellington and its coasts.

Three movements of the work there be, as befitting any sonata, and their unfamiliar patterns may reflect changing circumstance.

In the mid-forties my Christchurch friend and colleague, Frederick Page, once complained to me: 'Why don't you write music with charm, as Lenox Berkley does?'. But the Lenox charm was anathema to me, as my testimony now sounds.

Rather, I wanted a harsh rhetoric and sombre inscape, both gained from my experience and its analogy with the coasts (something that painter [Colin] McCahon vouched for).

I hope listeners may accept a rather grim first movement, along with the wayward wave-spun rhythms of the second movement (my coastal substitute for Vienese [sic] waltz-time), and then relax into some resolutions offered by the final movement.

My best thanks to Margaret Nielsen for understanding of musical language in presenting this work."

— Douglas Lilburn, 28 September 1990

Programme note courtesy of David McCaw (RNZ)

Contents note

Three movements: Allegro non troppo; Allegro vivace; Moderato

Performance history

09 Sep 1990: Performed by Margaret Nielsen at Studio One, Broadcasting House, Wellington on 9 September 1990

12 Mar 1996: Performed and recorded live at the 1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, Wellington

30 May 2007: NZ Piano Music of the 1950s

31 Jan 2015: Douglas Lilburn: Student and Teacher | Black Rainbow Series

Performed by Dan Poynton at Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall in May 2004

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