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 →

Top 5 Contemporary Piano Sonatas: #5

There was no right way to title this category, and I think that’s a testament to how wonderfully complicated and diverse concert music has become in the last hundred years or so. I could have called the category “20th Century and Beyond,” but there was some downright Romantic music composed in the twentieth century, and... Continue Reading →

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