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John Corigliano

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Piano + 1 Instrument
Year Composed
24 Minutes
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Programme Note
John Corigliano Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963)

Winner of the Festival of Two Worlds prize for chamber music, 1964

The Sonata, written during 1962-63, is for the most part a tonal work although it incorporates non-tonal and poly-tonal sections within it as well as other 20th century harmonic, rhythmic and constructional techniques. The listener will recognize the work as a product of an American writer although this is more the result of an American writing music than writing ‘American’ music – a second-nature, unconscious action on the composer’s part. Rhythmically, the work is extremely varied. Meters change in almost every measure, and independent rhythmic patterns in each instrument are common. The Violin Sonata was originally entitled Duo, and therefore obviously treats both instruments as co-partners. Virtuosity is of great importance in adding color and energy to the work which is basically an optimistic statement, but the virtuosity is always motivated by musical means. To cite an example: the last movement rondo includes in it a virtuosic polyrhythmic and polytonal perpetual motion whose thematic material and accompaniment figures are composed of three distinct elements derived from materials stated in the beginning of the movement. The 16th-note perpetual motion theme is originally a counterpoint to the movement’s initial theme. Against this are set two figures – an augmentation of the movement’s primary theme and, in combination with that, a 5/8 rhythmic ostinato utilized originally to accompany a totally different earlier passage. All three elements combine to form a new virtuoso perpetual motion theme which is, of course, subjected to further development and elaboration.

—John Corigliano

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Upper Valley Duo
    Tim Schwarz, violin; Dan Weiser, piano
    Marquis Classics:
  • Soloist(s)
    Maria Bachmann, violin; John Klibonoff, piano
  • Soloist(s)
    Glenn Dicterow, violin; Gerald Robbins, piano
    Cala Records:
  • Ensemble
    Verdehr Trio
    Walter Verdehr, violin; Ralph Votapek, piano
  • Soloist(s)
    Joshua Bell, violin; Jeremy Denk, piano
  • Soloist(s)
    Elmar Oliveira, violin; Robert Koenig, piano
  • Soloist(s)
    John Corigliano, Sr., violin; Ralph Votapek, piano
    New World Records:
  • Soloist(s)
    Corey Cerovsek, violin; Andrew Russo, piano
    Black Box Classics:
  • Soloist(s)
    Curtis Macomber, violin; Diane Walsh, piano
    Koch Intl. Classics:
  • Soloist(s)
    Arrangement of 3rd movement only for violin and organ- Ardyth Lohuis, violin; Robert Murray, organ
    Raven CDs:
  • Soloist(s)
    Ida Bieler (Violin), Nina Tichman (Piano)
...flowing lyricism and rugged chromaticism...
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times,01/01/0001
...The highlight of the evening was John Corigliano's prize-winning 1963 Sonata for Violin and Piano. Far too rarely heard, the sonata is a tour de force for the violin, and in Pine's hands it surged to life — a complex and infinitely fascinating work whose Andantino contains some of the loveliest and most delicate music written in the past half-century.
Stephen Brookes, Washington Post,01/01/0001
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