Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963)
Winner of the Festival of Two Worlds prize for chamber music, 1964
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First performed July 10, 1964, at the Festival of Two Worlds; Yoko Matsuda, violin, Charles Wadsworth, piano; Spoleto, Italy

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Duration  22 minutes

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Recordings
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Joshua Bell, violin; Jeremy Denk, piano Sony 82876-88060-2 (2007)
John Corigliano, Sr., violin, and Ralph Votapek, piano CRI CD659 (1996 reissue)
Maria Bachmann, violin, and Jon Klibonoff, piano RCA Catalyst 8287664298 2 (2004)
Phillippe Quint, violin, and William Wolfram, piano Naxos 8.559364 (2008)
Elmar Oliveira, violin; Robert Koenig, piano Artek AR-0035-2 (2007)
Glenn Dicterow, violin; Gerald Robbins, piano Cala CACD0514 (2006)
Corey Cerovsek, violin; Andrew Russo, piano Black Box BBM1106 (2006)
Janice Martin, violin; Rachel Franklin, piano Sonoris Recordings SCD5159 (1999)
Cynthia Mei, vioin; Aileen Chanco-Everett, piano Chiaroscuro (1998)
Walter Verdehr, violin; Ralph Votapek, piano Crystal Records CD746 (1997)
Tim Schwarz, violin; Dan Weiser, piano Red Leaf Productions RLP 001 (1995)
Diane Walsh, violin; Curtis Macomber, piano Koch 37223  (1995)
Fredell Lack, violin; Albert Hirsh, piano Bay Cities BCD 1018 (1990)

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Program note

The Sonata for Violin and Piano, 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 my 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.

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                     — John Corigliano

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