Violin and Piano
The first movement of a violin sonata, in a fairly different style than my norm. This piece was a compositional writing assignment by my teacher, Kent Holliday. He suggested I experiment some away from tonality and this was the result of my work.
The piece uses polychords quite frequently, most often at a tritone interval (i.e. a C major chord sounding at the same time as an F# major chord, or "C-C#-E-F#-G-A#"). This movement is in standard sonata allegro form, which is illustrated with Sonorous Sonata. The first theme is in 9/8 and the second is in 6/8 although the beat of the first theme is often (3 + 2 + 2 + 2).
The entire piece is based on a series of pitches (E C Bb Gb E C Db Bb) which repeat throughout in various forms and at various levels.
The second movement of the violin sonata. This slow section seems to act more as a bridge between the first and third movement than anything else. The series is repeated in several places here. In the middle development section, I tended to hop around quickly between chord centers, without ever finding a resting point. The first time the melody is heard, it is at the Eb level, and the second time is at the A level, again outlining the tritone relationship. Like the first movement, this piece ends on an F# chord with a slight edginess, made by the C in the bass voice. I reused much of this material in my thesis.
The third movement of the violin sonata. I had a good bit of fun creating this one and the melodic germ is very memorable to my ear. Again, the series is repeated, but shifted over by two notes (Bb Gb E C Db Bb E C). Under the 8 bar melody the bass line of the piano plays this series, one note per measure. The difference here is that actual chords are outlined, one chord per bar in the melody. The chords I used (again appearing at different levels throughout the piece) are Bb D E A Bb Eb E7 A. This section is in Rondo form, which consists of the melody repeated every other time and some sort of alternate theme or development played in between.
I rewrote my violin sonata by request for oboe and piano. Although it is theoretically interesting, the necessity of breathing makes it next to impossible on oboe, and the piano part still wasn't idiomatic. I hope no one ever had to perform it!
I think the oboe gives the second movement an interesting timbre, although the piano part is still "out there".