Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ego Trip 2013: Post #1

So, on July 4th, 2013, I held a concert of my own works at First Presbyterian Church, Winnipeg, in the blazing hot summer. It was hot enough in that un-air-conditioned church that for attendees and performers I provided a cooler full of ice and bottled water. I don't doubt that heatstroke was a risk. Certainly I had performing issues.

The six performers were myself, on organ, piano and voice; Charmaine Bacon, on flutes and piano, Andrew Rampton, singing; Michael McKay, playing piano and singing; Nathan Poole with his violin; and James Robertson with a French Horn. Thirteen pieces were demonstrated, to the delight and joy of the audience (and my own!).

The first piece to show is the Sonatina Arguably in A Major, for violin and piano. Michael McKay took up the piano part, while Nathan Poole played the violin. The Sonatina is in two movements: Allegretto gracioso, with Overtones (Apolitical); and Something Like a Rondo. The structure is fairly straightforward, with the first movement using a simple ABAB-type form, and the second being, well, something like a rondo.
Points of interest:

  • The first theme of the first movement uses played overtones on the piano to colour an otherwise fairly ordinary accompaniment, while the second theme uses a layered canon idea.
  • The second movement, while still in A Major, never comes to rest on a tonic chord until 75 measures in, after the restatement of the secondary theme, and the first actual authentic cadence doesn't happen until twenty measures later.
  • The second movement's first theme is derived from the first movement's second theme; the second movement's second theme is derived from the first movement's first theme.
  • Both movements in the recording are slower than I had envisioned them; this does not mean that I disagree with Michael and Nathan's interpretation. Ideally, in my mind, the piece should run a hair under five minutes.
The heat was very telling that day. This was early in the concert and already both performers were feeling the beginnings of dehydration and exhaustion. We all did the best with what we had available. The piano was on shaky ground (the organ was far, far worse!) and the violin tuning was equally problematic, and everyone's fingers were alternately slipping and sticking due to perspiration. Still, I was happy with the result, and I'm pleased to share the live recording as well as the score. For length purposes, the complete score will be in link below the images; only a few highlights will be here in the blog.

The opening. Eight bars of introduction, and start of the first theme in the violin
The transition in to the layered second theme of the first movement:
The opening two pages of the Rondo, showing both themes.

Creative Commons License
Sonatina Arguably in A Major by Mike Cutler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

More from Ego Trip 2013 to come. And news of Ego Trip 2015, which looks to be accomplished with a flute/'cello/piano trio.

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