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Piano Sonata No. 1 in E b, Op. 3

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This is the first movement of my Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 3, my earliest piano sonata. I first wrote it in 1993, aged 15 - but somehow lost track of the score for a long time. It eventually found its way back into my hands, so I decided to restore and polish it into a performance-ready version. I'm introducing here the first movement only (hopefully the link will work).

As usual, comments and feedback are totally welcome!


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On ‎15‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 0:29 PM, AmareAppogiature said:

This is really cool! Would love to hear the rest.

Good. I'll put up the remaining two movements via an edit on the opening post.

11 hours ago, Sojar Voglar said:

The link works, everything is ok!

I like the usage of syncopated rhythms and rich piano sound. And there are no audiable similarities with Tchaikovsky although Romantic features are characteristic.

Thanks for your comment! I'm glad that you found no Tchaikovskian echoes over there, since that means I was able to shake them off while revising the work (not that I've come to disdain the Russian master's influence, but rather find another way through it). It might owe something to the fact that this piece got its characteristic rhythmic pattern from a folk dance from my country (known as Tambito), which I've worked to infuse with Classical and Romantic elements (BTW, that explains the extensive use of syncopation all over the place). Indeed, I reused this theme in an orchestral work about my own country's landscapes ;) .

2 hours ago, Luis Hernández said:

It's nice you have revised this work.

The main theme is so "happy", I would say it's almos "pop". As we say in Spanish: "es pegadizo" (you hear it and it sticks to your mind)....

I like the modulations, they are soft and transitions are "insivisble".

Thanks for your review as well! Indeed, I guess the tune goes for a pretty "sticky" feeling, and I'm delighted that the transitions managed to be smooth enough to go unnoticed.

BTW, where are you from, Luis? Podríamos tener toda esta conversación en español...

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  • 2 years later...

My goodness, Austenite. How your piano writing has improved since I’ve been gone! You always had great ideas, but were hampered by certain trepidations you had with the piano, and your writing ended up sounding somewhat hollow, as a result.

Listening to your revision here, it’s a vast improvement. The nice weaving of the melody in the left hand of ms. 11, then allowing the right hand to take care of it in ms. 17-26 while the left hand focuses on bass, works beautifully. I don’t think you would have written like that years ago.

Mss. 28-43 are a very nice development, great swelling of the theme at ms. 39. I will nitpick: ms. 33 is a wasted opportunity, I think. I don’t have access to a piano right now to test, but maybe writing it this way — move the G in the L.H. 1st beat to Eb, then second beat make Bb C and natural E below, and keep last chord the same, and voila, it fits with the following measures in the L.H. Just a suggestion.

Mss. 44-63 are lovely, nice scales at 56, and good job reining the piece back at 60. Little note: mss. 51-54, split the pedal at each bass octave, it’ll probably sound muddier than you want to pedal the whole measure where there are two bass octaves. Especially 56 and 57! I know on the playback it sounds fine, but it will become a mess at 57 on a real piano. Pedal each ms. by itself, problem solved. And maybe a dim. from ms. 60-63 will make the then-sudden FF even more engaging.

Love 64-71. I think G# should be Ab, but I’m not sure. Great passage. I think on ms. 72, the chord should be sf, followed by dim all through 76, and hold sustain pedal from 74 to 75.

Great job with the modulations, very smooth, and really add color to the piece. But the pedaling desperately needs adjusting here. Ms. 112 works fine, but all the bass scales will be a disaster. You know I love me a good, muddy texture, but this piece will not benefit from the resulting swamp that will happen if a pianist holds down the pedal all through those bass scales.

This is a really wonderful piece. There’s just some slight rough edges. This is a piece to be proud of. Thanks for sharing! 😄

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Upon request of a fellow YC member, here's the complete Sonata with its three movements. I must admit that the first movement is my personal favorite - but I'll say no more, preferring to stand by for your comments.


Thanks in advance!

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Personally, the 2nd movement is my favorite of the bunch, including the fact it strongly reminds me of Carmen 😄 In fact, all three of your pieces have clear sources of inspiration, that you put your own original twist on. The 3rd has Chopin Op. 10 No. 12 reference in the L.H. If this is the same piece I’m thinking I heard from you years ago, it may be the most dramatic improvement. Before there was way too much Chopin. Now, it’s a reference, not a huge riff in the whole piece.

2nd movement: I would never, ever name one of my pieces “Appassionato(a)”, for fear of being unfairly compared to Beethoven’s “Appassionata.” Yet, the title fits, here. I really like that the deep feeling is conveyed, not by loud and dramatic passages (which is all well and good, my personal favorite tool in the toolbox!), but rather, by subdued, dignified “dance” which clearly conveys internal passion which is only peaking through at moments here and there throughout the piece. Over rubato by a performer would kill the piece, and miss the point.

Love your choice of melody and voicing in the right hand. Minor qualm, I wish the triplets at 40 would have continued all the way through 41, then stopping at the grand rolled chord at measures 42. I think that would feel more natural. Also, little note on 43-48. I think I see where you’re going here development-wise. I’d like to offer a slight alternative here, I think would sound “smooth”, in harmony with the rest of the piece. Measure 43, move F in R.H. to A in chord on 2nd beat, and add a D to the third beat note below the Bb. Left hand, just make the last F an F#. Then on 45, make the last note L.H. an E natural instead of Eb. Just a suggestion, see how you like it. (You may hate it, and that’s fine too.) I know you’re probably wanting to keep with that repeated note motif throughout the piece, but I thought this might be a nice opportunity to add a little “slant” to that motif, rather than quoting it verbatim. Itty-bitty nitpick, might be better to make the F# and A in the R.H. of 47 a soft second voice, both of them half notes, and lose the D on the 3rd beat (no one will miss it).

Love the cantabile and appassionato section. Great use of gradually more adventurous harmony up to a climax. Very nice. One important note (pun not intended): 73 is craving that first bass note to be a D, not F. Really easy fix, and this time, I actually recommend it: ms. 72, 3rd beat, make middle C trail out F minor down to lower C, and then D right above in ms. 73. Then ms. 73, make all bass eighth notes as follows: that D mentioned before, F, D above, going down Bb, F, D, Bb, Ab, bam, fixed. I really think you will like that adjustment.

The tracker, unfortunately, refuses to let me listen to the rest of the piece, but I’m hearing it in my head. Looks like a recap mostly, heading toward finale, so I’m pretty sure I’m hearing right, and I like it. Little something: I think in context, 169 and 170 would sound really cool like this. On last beat of 169 R.H., make Ab and Bb both naturals instead. Then on first chord on 170 R.H, keep the chord and add both F and B natural. After ms. 167 having both the Ab and Bb, I think this would add a little harmonic flavor to your ending passage.

Love the whole piece. Again, it’s my favorite of the 3.

3rd movement: coming soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Listening to the third movement now. It definitely has an uplifting, optimistic tone. I like it — good contrast with last piece. And not every last movement has to end in Greek tragedy ^_~

Great use of arpeggios toward the end of the opening theme. Also, I think you use trills to very good effect, both in right and left hand. In fact, I’m amazed you make it sound so good on a MIDI playback. I purposefully avoid using trills when I can in my pieces, because MIDI tends to completely butcher it. You make me want to try it again, though!

I’m really impressed with how you reworked this piece. Before, it suffered from identity crisis and awkward writing, but now, it stands as a more fully fleshed-out, fun, clever, and engaging piece. You should be proud! I hope you will write more pieces for piano, I would love to see how you continue to develop.

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  • 3 months later...



I found the Sonata you posted in October 2018 by searching for ideas to embark into composing the first movement of a symphony. It is great, with fantastic bits of inspiration. The first and second movements have a great "Latin" early XX century flavor. The first one reminds me of the 2/2 Venezuelan "Joropos". The second one has that great Tango flavor that evolves without losing its flavor, and it seems to be calling for a wilder development to break molds. The third one reminds me of a Mazurka, and it is quite contrasting. My favorites are 3 and 1. 3 has so much potential for orchestration, I can almost hear already a very interesting series of alternating sections growing into "tuttis". ¡Pura Vida!



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  • 1 year later...

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