Piano Sonata No. 1
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Piano Sonata No. 1
solo piano
duration 19:00  © 1990 Wise Music Group
choreographed by Graeme Murphy for the Sydney Dance Company
Available on the Tall Poppies CD Carl Vine: Chamber Music Volume 1
Available on the Program Promotions CD Inspired 20th Century Piano Music
Available on the ProPiano CD Sergei Babayan
Available on the Tall Poppies CD Graeme Murphy's Body of Work
Available on the ABC Classics CD Storm Sight
Available on the Move Records CD Tensile Flame
Available on the Harmonia Mundi CD Van Cliburn Piano Competition (12th)
Available on the Tall Poppies CD Carl Vine: The Piano Music (1990-2006)
Available on the Move Records CD Schimmel Concert Grand Piano
Available on the Fleur de Son Classics CD Caroline Hong Plays Corigliano
Available on the CD International Neo Classical Competition
Available on the Enharmonic Records CD
Available on the CD Carl Vine - Miklos Maros: Piano Sonatas
Available on the CDBaby CD Aphorisms: Piano Music of Carl Vine
Available on the Dynamic Records CD Carl Vine Complete Piano Sonatas

sample performed by Michael Kieran Harvey
on iTunes: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
Buy a copy of the score
Also see: Dance Music   Piano   Solos and Duos  
Program Note:

Drawing on the lithe beauty and contrapuntal elegance of the Elliot Carter Piano Sonata (1946), the Piano Sonata by Carl Vine is a work characterised by intense rhythmic drive and building up layers of resonance. These layers are sometimes delicate and modal, achieving a 'pointed' polyphony by the use of complex cross-rhythm, at other times being granite-like in density, creating waves of sound which propel the music irresistibly towards its climax.

The scheme is similar to the Carter Sonata - two movements, with the slow section built into and defining the faster portions of the first movement. The second movement is based on a moto perpetuo which soon gives way to a chorale-like section, based on parallel fifths.

In discussing the work, Vine is reticent about offering explanations for the compositional processes involved, feeling that these are self-evident, and indeed the work is definitely aurally 'accessible' on first hearing. However one of the main concerns in this sonata is the inter-relationship between disparate tempi, which is the undercurrent of the work and its principle binding element.

The work is dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey and was commissioned by the Sydney Dance Company to accompany choreography by Graeme Murphy. The first dance performance of Piano Sonata was in the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House in May, 1992. © Michael Harvey 1991

NOTE: Two versions of the score have been produced in 1990 and 2003 respectively. Both contain errors.

1990 version
page 26, measure 328 (RH): the octave A's should be flat, not natural
measure 292 (treble clef): bottom voice is missing flats on A and B, then on G

2003 version
1st mvt:
measure 8 (RH): E should be E-flat
measure 46 (RH): last chord, both B's should be B-flat (B-natural in m.47)
measure 170 (RH): second note should be E-flat, not E-natural

2nd mvt:
measure 227-228 (RH): should be 15ma, not 8va
... his Piano Sonata of 1990 is one of the most significant works in the form since the great Piano Sonata of Elliott Carter. [Jim Svejda, The Record Shelf Guide to Classical CDs & Audio cassettes, - 4th Edition]

The work lasts some 16 minutes, and fills that time span with a sure and engrossing progression of ideas. The start is murky and mysterious: rolling, repeated quite chords seem to shape almost visual sculptures out of silence. Gradually the music takes on a more overt sense of motion: the second movement ends in an exhilarating display of pure virtuosity, without violating the narrative quality in the music that sweeps us along from the start. This is sure, intense, original music ... [Alan Rich, LA Weekly, Aug 19, 1994]

The Vine Sonata was quite a find, loaded with computer-like blips and virtuosic storm clouds, and [Michael] Harvey handled it brilliantly. A major cult could develop around this guy once word gets out. [Richard S. Ginell, American Record Guide, May/June 1994]

... the Piano Sonata ... is music that stands alone and demands repeated hearing for its brilliance, energy and inventiveness. [Laurie Strachan, The Australian, Sept 4, 1992]

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