For large wind ensemble, percussion, harp and piano.
Normally, when being confronted with the term ´sonata´, we tend to think of a substantial composition for piano solo in three movements, predominantly by Mozart or Beethoven. The word, however, derives from the Italian ´sonare´ meaning ´to play´. In the 16th. Century a composition entitled ´sonata´ merely indicated a piece of music for instruments, as opposed to the ´cantata´ - a piece involving voices. The Italian cantare simply means ´to sing´.
The present suite Sonatas is a composition subtitled ´six pieces of music for large wind ensemble, percussion, piano and harp´. It opens with a Reveille, a short ´wake-up call´, a fanfare opening the gate into what follows. The second movement is called Pastorale and certainly is that, a peaceful unfolding of gentle chords and sounds of a bucolic nature. Nothing dramatic happens, whereas in the third movement Scherzo the wood winds chase each other in a wild relay run.
Then, all of a sudden, the mood changes, and we are plunged right into the middle of the darkest night. In the Nocturne, unnervingly subtitled sinistro, the low rumbling chords in the trombones and prickly outburst in oboes and horns form the sinister back drop to this wordless Grand Guignol. Which merges seamlessly into Panorama, an unfolding festive, almost pageant like ´sound-scape´of dancing rhythms and jubilant scales. Slowly, however, the tempo drops and the former boisterous body of sound is being slowly and mercilessly ´skeletonized´ - and at the end there is nothing left.
Retraite - ”the last post”. The day is over, the sun sets.
- Poul Ruders, September 2011