Piano Sonata No.7 "Veni Creator Spiritus"

Program Note:

The five-movement work was completed in October of 1994 in preparation for a concert in Amsterdam for the following spring. Owing to the style of the piece, the concert was cancelled by the conservatory faculty in defiance of the invitation of leading Dutch composers. The work was subsequently revised in 1996, and it is in this form that it will be performed. The revisions had nothing to do with the conflcts, but rather with refinements to the flow of the musical structure.The 2013 edition is the result of almost 20 years of revisions, particularly in the use of non chord-tome dissonances, from many subsequent performances.

Movement I (Prelude) is a stately introduction which functions like the "A" section of a French overture without any of the stylistic references. The plainchant, Veni, Creator Spiritus, makes its first fragmentary appearance in Movement II (Toccata). The alternating figure which propels the movement suggests the opening of the chant, and this figure appears in augmentation about a minute in. Succeeding phrases of the chant are woven into the bass in a kind of cantus firmus at important nodal points in the movement, but the listener is barely aware of its presence. Movement III (Aria) explores tonal dualities that allow for the simultaneous major/minor inflection of the melody. Some melodic development suggests the contours of inner phrases of the chant.

Movement IV (Prelude II) is a short novelty piece in the style of Zez Confrey and is made completely of chant fragments. It serves as an introduction to the Finale as a kind of balance to the Movement I-II set. At the opening of Movement V the chant is heard in its entirety, separated by a portculus chord which is a verticalization of a section of the chant. Chant materials are freely developed until the climax, which is an irreverent paraphrase of J.S. Bach's Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heilige Geist with suitable harmonic elaborations.

P.R. April, 2013