Monday, 24 November 2014

The Atlantic Canada Sonata

A few Comments about Piano Sonata No. 3 in F# Minor 

I   Allegretto con risoluto – 88 quarter notes per minute
                          The North Atlantic Ocean Coast in Nova Scotia
II  Allegretto – 80 quarter notes per minute
                          A Song of Thanksgiving for Fair Weather and Calm Seas
III Andante  – 88 quarter notes per minute
                         The Cape Breton Highlands

Twenty-five years intervened between completion of the final movement of the F Minor piano sonata in spring 1977 and writing the opening theme of the Atlantic Canada Sonata.  The first  theme for this new sonata was sketched on a Sunday afternoon in 2002 and the work completed about twelve months later.

For a quarter of a century I did not compose any music for the piano. Nonetheless, development of this new main theme continued and I began to wonder if I could once again write music for the piano; not having played the instrument for more than twenty years.

Reality today is that most of the theory I had learned has faded from memory and all my limited musical technical ability is gone. Even my playing of simple major scales is hopeless incompetence.

Anyone can quit though. Giving up is very easy. We quietly capitulate to defeat all the time. Instead, and with some of that inherited, innate Hebridean defiance surfacing, I determined to write a new piano sonata using only the computer. The result was a new piano work that I shall never be able to play. 

Memories of travelling by train though Atlantic Canada together with walking along and observing the ocean coastline of Nova Scotia became the inspirations for the music.


Canada's Atlantic Ocean is brutally cold and the currents unforgiving, never calm and always moving. At times quiet but never still; appearing deceptively peaceful but never at rest.

The music was written to attempt to reflect that agitation.

The Oddblock Station Agent

No comments:

Post a Comment