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Michael Gordon: Sonatra

by Vicky Chow

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  • Streaming + Download

    Pre-order of Michael Gordon: Sonatra. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    releases July 12, 2017

      $10 USD  or more

     

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    LIMITED EDITION VINYL AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 2017.

    Contains both versions of Sonatra in equal-tempered and just intonations. Album artwork based on Anton Perich's "Enigma" (machine painting/acrylic on canvas)

    Includes digital pre-order of Michael Gordon: Sonatra. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it's released.
    digital album releases July 12, 2017
    item ships out within 3 days
    edition of 250 

      $25 USD or more 

     

1.
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Sonatra (Just Intonation)

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LIMITED EDITION VINYL AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 2017

In his original program notes for Sonatra, composer Michael Gordon writes that he conceived of the piece for solo piano as a sideways tribute to Frank Sinatra, but with the sonata form as an equal and opposite force that tugs at the music from within.

“I grew up playing, or mis-playing, the piano,” he notes. “When I started writing Sonatra, I decided that since I would probably only ever write one piano piece in my entire life, I wanted to use all the keys on the piano, and use them often. I constructed long chains or links of major and minor thirds that ceaselessly wind their way up and down the piano. Eventually they start cascading and intersperse with glissandos half the length of the keyboard, sounding to me like the performer has at least four hands.”

Sonatra is slightly more than 15 minutes in length, but when performed in both equal temperament and just intonation, as Bang on a Can All-Stars pianist Vicky Chow has done for her singular recording of the piece, it takes on the aura and personality of a two-part epic.

“It’s by far the most challenging piece of music I’ve worked on,” she says. “When I first looked at the score, I knew immediately that I’ll live with it for the rest of my life. Every few months, I slowly worked up each section, like chipping away at a slab of marble. I had to pace myself, push myself, and be sharp at every twist and turn, or else I’d trip and fall flat on my face.

“Performing it with just intonation adds another hurdle to overcome, because you can easily feel as though the arpeggios spiraling up and down the length of the keyboard are wrong. It adds one more sadistic layer to the traumatic physical experience a pianist or any other musician or athlete puts themselves through when trying to achieve an impossible feat. This is one of those pieces.”

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releases July 12, 2017

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Vicky Chow Brooklyn, New York

Vicky Chow is the pianist for the New York-based eclectic contemporary sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars, and is also a founding member of DUO X88 and GRANDBAND.

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  • Dec 01
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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