Piano Sonata No. 3, “Sonata Eterea” (1978)
Duration: 13 min.
Dedication: to Ruth and Elliott Litsky
Recording: Albany TROY1119
Premiere: 1980; E. Litsky; Staten Island, NY
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I dedicated my third piano sonata to my dear friends Elliott and Ruth Litsky, who liked my aggressive pieces, but preferred the mellow ones—and thus it was the “Ethereal Sonata” or Sonata Eterea. Elliott did indeed perform the premiere of the work in March of 1980, to great acclaim, in a concert of my vocal and chamber music at Wagner College where I was then teaching. My general scheme in the sonata was go from simple to deeper to very meditative. So the first movement is an aria of fairly obvious content though not without a very heavy display of chords and arpeggios and fanfare in the middle. The second, “Pastorale,” attempts a certain impressionistic combination of grace and indefinite pastel quality. The third movement is utterly quiet; I meant it is a meditation, but there are very wide handfuls of harmonies and cross-rhythms nevertheless. I hardly intended it for this purpose, but over the years my university colleagues asked me to play it when we had memorial services for those we had lost, and of course I have complied with such requests. (Notes by Arnold Rosner)