Cello sonata, take 1

Rather than allow those piano preludes to take up permanent residence in my head, I pulled up some files this morning that I had saved back when I was distracting myself from those piano preludes with short stabs at the cello sonata, and I got to work on the sonata. My theory is that if I get the new music planted in my head, I can start working out all the problems that I know are going to come with , once again , plowing unfamiliar ground.

So far it seems to be working. I cheated—a bit—by pulling up an old Prelude No. 6 sketch and recasting it for the cello and piano. It has a nice elegiac sound to it, so I think this is going to be the third movement, kind of a free-form rhapsody kind of a thing.

I seem to have an irrational fear that I’ll be accused of relying on traditional form. What?? That’s what they’re there for, you idiot. So why not go ahead and plan for the third movement to be a sonata allegro or a theme & variation or something. I don’t know.

In addition, the free-form idea for the third movement is problematic in that the slow movement will probably also be free-form. And the Ayshire sketch that I keep thinking will be the first movement is similarly slow and meditative, though I do plan a sonata allegro there.

It seems I have some more thinking to do. Maybe I’ll make the middle movement a scherzo. Take that, traditional form!

At the end of the day, I have to confess that what I got onto the screen was so interesting and so vital that it scared me. I’ve been listening to it off and on all day, but I haven’t dared work on it more. I need to understand, at least in some way, what I’ve done so that I can extend it into a full movement. I’m not going to share at the moment. Well, OK, I will, but it’s just the first stab. Literally.

There’s a gap in the accompaniment where I haven’t worked on the cello melody, followed by a resumption where I knew exactly what should happen. (Only, it didn’t.) There’s also this odd hiccup at one point where the piano is playing what sounds like staccato notes in the left hand and it’s written to be sustained quarter notes under the quintuplets. Yes, that’s right, you’re hearing quintuplets. Cello Sonata: Stab One.

The inadequacy of the computer in translating live players has never been more clear. Hear it under lights, as we say.

Discuss: is it as interesting, as—dare I say?—ravishing as it sounded to me all day today?

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