Sonatina (2006) - Nick Ray

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Sonatina (2006) - Nick Ray


I wrote the first movement of the Sonatina in December 2004 but, being preoccupied with other projects, only completed the second and third movements in June 2006.
The first movement is almost in orthodox sonata form with two contrasted subjects and a development section. The recapitulation combines both themes but the brief plaintive attempt of the second subject to re-establish itself is abruptly cut off in mid-sentence with a dismissive gesture.
The second movement is a scherzo whose legato melody is surrounded by staccato figuration which sparsely harmonises it. It is almost a jig but the irregular accents and sinister hammered chords introduce a destabilising element, leading to disorientation and collapse. The trio takes up the broken theme and develops it further, with a cross-rhythm in the accompaniment.
The third movement begins before the second has finished, and a new theme appears in the bass which grows in strength as it gradually ascends. Meanwhile the scherzo loses all conviction and spirals down to disappear in the lowest register.
Once the new theme is isolated, it becomes the subject for a kind of passacaglia, whilst remaining in the centre of the texture and acquiring layers of counterpoint which colour it differently on each repeat. The following section brings the principal themes from the earlier movements into review and the last section combines them, first tentatively and then triumphantly, with the passacaglia theme.

[The Sonatina is dedicated to the composer Frank Bayford and was first performed (by me) in October 2006 at St Denys Church, Southampton.

Nick Ray

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2 performances.

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