COMPOSER 1945–2013

Opus 18

Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (1963, rev. 2004)

for Violin and Piano

  • Allegro molto
  • Lento
  • Allegro

Duration: 14 min.

Dedication: to Emily Adele Vanderwerf

Recording: Toccata TOCC0408

Premiere: 2014; O. Dalby; M. Kampmeier; Merkin Hall, New York, NY

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Rosner composed his Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Op. 18, in 1963, when he was eighteen years old. (The Sonata No. 2 dates from 1972, and serves alternately as his Sonata for Oboe and Piano.) As with a number of his early works, he later felt that the Sonata No. 1 could be improved without changing its overall character. In undertaking such retrospective revisions, Rosner was somewhat unusual. Many composers revise their works shortly after completing them, often after a first performance or in anticipation of a second. Revisions much later are less common, as most composers’ styles evolve to the point where they no longer feel comfortable re-entering works from an earlier period. Rosner’s style evolved over time as well, as may be readily gleaned from this recording. But he never repudiated his earlier approach, and so his revisions remain fully within the language of the original work. For example, when he returned to the Violin Sonata No. 1 more than forty years after completing it, he retained all the original thematic materials, developing them more subtly and sophisticatedly. But there are no disjunctions in the basic musical language, which remains largely modal and consonant, as was the original version. In this way he was able to retain the freshness and innocence that characterized his earlier music, while providing a developmental complexity that gives the music added depth and interest. He dedicated the revised version to Emily Adele Vanderwerf, whose father had written the first academic dissertation on Rosner’s music. (Notes by Walter Simmons)