Program Notes and Score Video
The Sonata for piano has a long and varied history. I wrote the first movement in 1968, when I was eighteen. It was the first music I wrote in college at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I completely balked at writing another movement, however, and it remained unfinished for several years. I wrote the last movement in Seattle while still attending the University of Washington, before moving to Phoenix. I wanted to combine the two movements with the Introduction and Movement (1972) as the second movement and work all the movements into a piano concerto. But this never materialized, and upon reconsideration, the second movement did not seem to fit with the other two movements. So I replaced it with a second movement that was more appropriate stylistically, and left the work as a solo sonata.
Because the music was written at different times and places, each movement has a different approach. The first movement is a rather standard Neo-classical sonata movement. The last movement has a rondo-type structure and is similar to the inner movements of my set of songs, Rain, Rain (1973) or the last movement of City Music (1974). The second movement uses a structure that I most notably exploited in the piano work Jazz Crystals (1974). The Piano Sonata was first performed by Walter Cosand at Arizona State University on February 3rd, 1986.