Sonata for Violin and Piano

This Sonata was composed between June and August 2004. It was commissioned by the Carr-Gregory trust and is dedicated to Linda and Russ Carr and to Gina McCormack.

The work has two contrasting movements and plays for around eighteen minutes. The first movement divides into two distinct sections: a turbulent fast section and a short, but extremely fast scherzo which is based on the same material as the previous section.

The second movement is slow and lyrical and is a further transformation of music heard earlier. It begins and ends calmly and simply, rising to an impassioned climax in the middle.

Listeners interested in the work’s technical construction may like to know that the entire piece explores the tension created by the interplay of two mutually exclusive harmonic systems: one built on a scale of alternating tones and semitones, the other built on an interlocking cycle of perfect fifths. The use of fifths, particularly those to which the violin is tuned, inevitably brings to mind Berg’s famous use of the open violin strings in his Violin Concerto. While gratefully acknowledging the influence of that masterpiece, I hope that my own work explores some alternative implications of that distinctive sonority.

© John Pickard 2004