“SONATA PICCOLA” JADCD 1111
Music by Australian composers: ROBERT ALLWORTH, BETTY BEATH, ANN CARR-BOYD, ERIC GROSS, DEREK STRAHAN
Total duration: 61.42
This is the 95th Jade CD in the 17th year of production by Australian composer/entrepreneur Robert Allworth. It features several solo piano works, two of them performed by Australian pianist Sally Mays, who is internationally known not only as a pianist but also as an editor, composer and teacher. She has given recitals, played concerti with leading orchestras and has been heard on radio in many countries.
Sally Mays performs the title work, “Sonata Piccola” (1995) by Eric Gross, an attractive work in 2 movements which is both rhythmically complex and contains elements of romantic expressionism. She also performs Robert Allworth’s short Blue Colour Prelude and the 17-minute 7-movement “Suite for Piano (in Moonlight) (2005), a serial work which uses the same tone row as an earlier organ composition of lunar inspiration. Both works have a tonal, impressionistic character as the tone row consists of triadic material. (The organ work, “An Oasis in Moonlight”(2004) is released on Jade CD “Séance on a Wet Afternoon” in a piano version also played by Sally Mays, and available at CD Baby).
Two more solo piano works are presented by their composers. Betty Beath presents 2 movements titled “Prelude to Dreams” and “Toward Dawn” extracted from a Suite titled “Dreams and Visions” (1996). Derek Strahan’s offering is “Prelude and Variations on Theme for Earth” (1992) drawn from Pt. 1 of his “Atlantis Variations”.
Contrasting sounds are heard in Eric Gross’s “Cadenza II” for solo mandolin (1991) and Ann Carr-Boyd’s Slow Jazz (1988) for violin and piano.
The CD cover features a photograph taken by Derek Strahan at sunset of Uluru, the great rock formation in Central Australia.
You can learn more about Australian music by visiting Derek Strahan’s website http://www.revolve.com.au
READ ON FOR FULL TRACK DETAILS OF MUSIC AND PERFORMERS
Eric Gross (b.1926)
Tracks 1 & 2 SONATA PICCOLA (1992), Op.188, for solo Piano. Written originally for Ray Lemond, this composition was completed in August 1992. The work is in four movements which are to be performed with barely a break between them although it would be possible to perform each movement as a separate item if desired. The first movement is in a fairly loose kind of sonata form - a slow introduction foreshadows some of the themes used later on in this and other movements. The somewhat spiky first subject is followed by a romantic second subject. After a brief development passage the first subject reappears with the melodic fragments inverted whilst the second subject is considerably elaborated before this movement concludes. The second movement commences with a series of chords, which form the basis of subsequent variations with a continuous increase in intensity of texture and tension, building up to a climax prior to a quiet ending. The third movement has a minuet-like form and texture, lighter than the preceding movements. The final, fourth movement restates some of the various themes enunciated in the earlier movements with the climax of this movement occurring at its very end.
Whilst there is no clearly defined sense of tonality in any of the four movements because of the use of expressionistic harmonies, there are occasional tonal centres which help to create a feeling of temporary tonal stability from time to time. Rhythmically, the work is quite complex and requires the performer to pay detailed attention to the prescribed dynamics and pedaling marks in order to produce a performance that is stylistically satisfying. E.G.
Robert Allworth – (b.1943)
Track 3 Suite for Piano (in Moonlight) (2005)
A suite for piano containing seven movements – as follows – Lento - Poco Méno Mosso - Sereno - Piú Mosso - Méno Mosso - Lento - Poco Méno Mosso. This music is based on a note row used in the organ composition ‘An Oasis in Moonlight’ although the suite for Piano (in Moonlight - 2005) has more movements and is ordered in a slightly different way to the organ composition. The music although serial is based on a note row basically consisting of triadic material and is impressionistic in nature. R.A.
Robert Allworth – (b.1943)
Track 4 Blue Colour (1970)
This composition is a short Piano piece once again written in a chromatic atonal style. R.A.
Betty Beath – (b.1942)
“Dreams and Visions" (1996) Extracts
Track 5 – Prelude to Dreams
Track 6 – Toward Dawn
Prelude to Dreams and Toward Dawn (here recorded in a performance by the composer at the 2MBS-FM Studios, Sydney by recording engineer Kerry Joyner). These two pieces were extracted from a suite for piano titled Dreams and Visions" (published by The Keys Press). This suite was developed from sketches I made while writing an orchestral piece for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1996 and which was also titled Dreams and Visions, The First Performance of the orchestral version was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Commission and later released on a Vienna Modem Masters CD (CDS 03 9) in their series New Music for Orchestra: Music from Six Continents.
Prelude to Dreams suggests that experience we often enjoy before sleep, a letting go of the busy activities of the day, allowing the mind to settle quietly, with just the occasional sharp focus on a particular thought. In writing the work I was concerned with colour and its use in expressing moods and contrasts.
Toward Dawn, the fifth movement in the piano suite, has links with the first movement. Prelude to Dreams, the time before dawn is often rich with dream experience but has, too, the added significance of return to familiar consciousness as the new day dawns. B.B.
Ann Carr-Boyd – (b.1938)
Track 7 slow jazz (1988)
Slow jazz for Violin and Piano brings back a nostalgic memory of candlelit dinners and riverside walks. This composition is part of music composed by Ann Carr-Boyd for the play ‘When The World Was Green’ by Sam Shephard which had its premiere season in Australia at Belvoir downstairs, Sydney 1998. A.C.B
Eric Gross – (b.1926)
Track 8 Cadenza II for Solo Mandolin (1991) Op. 153/2
This is the second of a number of solo cadenzas written for Australian mandolin virtuoso Paul Hooper. Like most cadenzas, this one is intended to provide an opportunity for technical and interpretative display by the performer. The technical devices used include various methods of plucking the strings, such as using plectrum and finger, sul tasto, sul pontecello, harmonics, multiple stopping and glissandi etc. There are also juxtapositions between rhythmic and melodic phrases in order to provide musical contrasts. The musical material is based on a cadenza in my second concerto for Mandolin, also composed for Paul Hooper in 1986. This recording of the composition has previously been released in 1993 on JADE CD 1043 (MASQUES) E.G.
Derek Strahan (b.1935) –
Track 9 Prelude and Variations on a Theme for Earth for Solo Piano (1992) – Derek Strahan - piano
These Variations are from a set contained in Pt. 1 of Atlantis Variations for Solo Piano, one of several works written to develop material for inclusion in a proposed cycle of 4 operas suggested by Plato’s account of the rise and fall of Atlantis. The Prelude is derived from a theme of primal character based on the harmonic series suggestive of a hunting call to signify the pagan goddess Diana, Queen of the Forests, of the Hunt and of the Moon. Its closing measures provide a linking passage to a theme for Earth which is also heard between each of the 5 variations of the set. The Earth theme is similarly of a primal nature. In it rising 3rds are heard against descending 5ths. Intended as a concert piece, Atlantis Variations explores ways of developing ideas intended ultimately for use as leitmotifs in the Atlantis opera cycle. D.W.S.
Sally Mays is a pianist, editor, composer and teacher with an international reputation. She has given recitals, played concerti with leading orchestras and broadcast in many countries, worldwide.
Special thanks to Kerry Joyner and Derek Strahan for their assistance with this production.
Front Cover Photo – ULURU, Northern Territory by Derek Strahan. Photo of Sally Mays by Suzie Maeder.
ARTWORK by HANDPRESS GRAPHICS ph. (02) 9918-5271 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Compilation mastered 31/10/2006 by Steve Smart, Studios 301, Sydney, Australia.
This CD is the 95th in the JADE Series of AUSTRALIAN COMPOSERS and the 17th year of production.
SUMMARY OF TRACKS & PERFORMERS
Eric Gross Tracks 1 & 2 SONATA PICCOLA (1992) (17.50)
1/. Lento Allegretto – Lento Piú Mosso 8.59
2/. Allegretto – Lento Con Moto 8.51
Sally Mays Piano
3/. Robert Allworth – Suite for Piano (in Moonlight) (2005) 17.04
4/. Robert Allworth – Prelude Blue Colour (1970) 1.28
Sally Mays Piano
Betty Beath “Dreams and Visions" (1996) Extracts (6.17)
5/. Prelude to Dreams 3.33
6/. Toward Dawn 2.44
Betty Beath Piano
7/. Ann Carr-Boyd – slow jazz (1988) 3.39
Katrina Carr-Boyd - Violin / Ann Carr-Boyd – Piano
8/. Eric Gross – Cadenza II for Solo Mandolin (1991) 5.26
Paul Hooper - Solo Mandolin
9/. Derek Strahan – Prelude & Variations on a Theme for Earth (1992) 9.58 Derek Strahan - piano
Total Duration 61.42