Keyboard Sonata in g minor
This is a keyboard sonata in g minor. It follows the classical sonata form. Stylistically, it is a blend of pop, neo-romanticism, minimalism, and modernism. It tends to be a bit on the dark side, although there are plenty of spots where the light shines in.
I’ve always greatly appreciated the keyboard sonata as a form. Growing up, I particularly enjoyed the Beethoven piano sonatas. The Eighth Piano Sonata (Opus 13) was a particular favorite of mine. This particular sonata in no way attempts to mirror that one, or even Beethoven generally. If anything, it sounds a bit like Chopin in some places, and perhaps like Rachmaninov in others. Nevertheless, my affinity for the keyboard sonata is directly attributable to the Pathetique.
Some Notes on Sonata for Keyboard in g minor
This keyboard sonata is a three-movement sonata that mostly follows the classical standard sonata format. Stylistically, I would describe it as neo-romantic. It has some dissonance, some quartals, some blues harmonies, and some minimalist elements, as well.
First Movement – Allegretto
This movement is in sonata form, where the main theme is in g minor, and the counter-theme is in B Flat Major. It follows the normal trajectory of exposition – development – recapitulation. In the recapitulation, the counter-theme is restated in its original B Flat Major, rather than the native g minor.
Second Movement – Adagio
This is a very slow Minuette. The form is AA’BA (where “A'” is a development section) The exposition moves directly into a development section that isn’t clearly distinguished from the exposition itself. The “B” section is sharply distinct from the main theme. Where the main theme is somewhat laconic and soft, the second theme is strident and assertive. The recapitulation, rather than being a full recapitulation is more like an elaboration and completion of a previous thought.
Third Movement – Vivace
The third movement is typically a rondo. In this case, however, I depart from the norm. This is a fantasia in the following format: ABA’CA’DEA”[CODA]. Stylistically, this movement is an example of American Populist Modernism (in the vein of Copland or Bernstein) The main theme, which is a powerful, asymmetric march-like theme, is asserted, then gives way to a second theme, then comes back and develops, then gives way to a third theme, and so on and so forth.
It almost has a Pictures at an Exhibition kind of feeling, although the demarcations between the main theme and the “pictures” are less pronounced. The final section presents the main theme as a more coherent melodic arch. It is also the darkest statement of the theme. Finally, the CODA is a brief variation on the main theme; it is significantly less strident than the original theme. The piece dies with a whimper.