10 Scarlatti Sonatas You Should Play or Teach

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) is a real treasure. His music is bite-sized, sounds great on piano or harpsichord, and features the lightness of the Italian Baroque, forays into Classical style, and some Spanish flair from his music master positions in Seville and Madrid. A single three- or four-minute Scarlatti sonata can traverse a wide range of... Continue Reading →

Life of an Editor: Working on Bonjour, Piano!

Bonjour, Piano!, a five-volume leveled series of French piano literature, represents the most all-encompassing editorial work I’ve done at Hal Leonard. The project provided an outlet for my natural curiosity in seeking out obscure music. During an initial brainstorm about a leveled series of French piano music, Rick Walters and I wrote down names of... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Contemporary Piano Sonatas: #1

#1: Ives - Sonata No. 2 “Concord, Mass., 1840-60” (1915) Well, here we are at the end of the “Top 5” sonata-ranking journey. And though this is the fifteenth sonata I’m writing about, I think I’ve saved the best for last. I’ve already written extensively about the Concord Sonata: in program notes for my junior... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Contemporary Piano Sonatas: #3

#3: Barber – Sonata in E-flat minor, Op. 26 (1949) It’s telling that when I was thinking about my initial ranking of contemporary sonatas, before I had scouted out more obscure pieces, my first thought was “OK, so where is Barber going to end up?” It’s popular, and justly so. But is it a masterpiece?... Continue Reading →

Top 5 Contemporary Piano Sonatas: #4

#4: Dutilleux - Piano Sonata (1948) Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013) deserves more recognition. He was a consummate craftsman, and, in the tradition of Brahms or Dukas, he wrote a lot more than he published, serving as his own tough critic. But the modest output available to us is full of extremely high-quality music.  His orchestral works... Continue Reading →

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