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Piano Sonata in A minor (first movement)

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I recently finished this movement for a piano sonata in the classical idiom though hopefully in my own personal style, though Mozart (particularly his own sonata in A minor) and early Beethoven are influences.  I wonder in particular if the left hand maybe too repetitive at times and whether the fugato part in the development is actually playable in its current form.  Thanks for taking the time to listen and any feedback is much appreciated.

 

 

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I do think the left hand gets a bit repetitive, yes. I mean, the exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda, all have that staccato motive in the left hand. Also, I listened through your first movement and looked especially at the fugato. And the fugato, as it stands right now, I couldn't play it if I tried. There are a lot of 10ths in there, in both hands. If a 10th is between a right hand note and a left hand note, I can play it. But if they are in the same hand, I have to adjust it, maybe if I can, change which hands play which notes, otherwise, I tend to omit the top note of the tenth, especially in a chord and shrink it down to an octave so that I can play it with 1 hand(a great example of where I do this is in the F minor chords of the Liszt transcription of Beethoven's fifth First Movement, I get F, C, Ab in the span of a tenth in the sheet music, in practice, I play F, C, F in the span of an octave so that I still get that F minor feel without straining my hands, possibly with an Ab below the C if I desire)

Somebody with Liszt size hands that can easily reach 10ths or 12ths would be able to play your fugato as written. I on the other hand, can barely reach a 9th on the piano(and even when I have to, it is a bit uncomfortable), and for some notes it is worse than others(For example, Bb, I would be lucky to reach a B natural from that note, whereas C, I can reach D from relatively easily). My maximum comfortable interval and the interval that I try to stay within in a piano arrangement or composition is an octave. I can definitely hear the Mozart inspiration in your sonata, but it doesn't sound 100% Mozart. I can hear your own style in there too. 

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Hi, Bryan!

This is quite an enchanting opening movement to a fine Classical-style piano sonata. I really enjoyed the crisp melodies and unobtrusive harmonies! My detailed comments are below.

  • The title, "Allegro con brio," is misleading, in my opinion. The "con brio" implies great fury and fervor, and while your piece is full of emotion, I wouldn't go so far as to call it furiously passionate. Perhaps a tempo marking of "Allegro molto" or "Allegro vivo" would be more fitting.
  • A beginning dynamic of "mp" is considered unconvincing. Consider changing it to "p" or "f" instead. (The dynamics "mp" and "mf" are supposed to be used as transitional dynamics.)
  • 1-11 are delicate and very enjoyable to listen to. I particularly like the differing articulations in the right and left hands; gives it some spice!
  • The upper mordent in 4 (and elsewhere) seems somewhat awkward. It might serve you better to write it out as a triplet, as I'm not quite sure which direction the alternation needs to be in. Is it B-A-C? Is it B-C-C? Is it B-A-B-C?
  • At the end of 9, the incidental treble clef in the bass would look better positioned after the D in the following bar.
  • At 16, the sudden lift to A7 is very rewarding!
  • 18, the octave C sitting atop the E7/G# is beautifully dissonant and transitions magnificently to the next Am chord.
  • Loved the playful progressions in 21-23!
  • The transition to the subdominant (Dm) at 24 is quite skillful. Well done!
  • 25-41: this is my favorite section of the piece! I love the interplay between the hands, the colorful chord progressions, the chromatics, the quick "day trip" to Eb major and then ending the phrase in D minor.
  • 42: starting the next exposition in the relative major, and on the shared note (A) between d minor and F major, is very tastefully done!
  • I enjoyed the transpositions of previous themes from 42-56.
  • Lots of great movement from 61-67! And those chords in 67... absolutely breathtaking!
  • The beautiful fugato from 69-102 is musically very satisfying! You are right about the playability of it, though. 88-91 will need to be reconfigured somehow so that there's not more than an octave between any one voice.
  • 103-106: loved the interplay between the hands!
  • 108-114: I feel like you linger on the same dim7 chord for too long. I would suggest either truncating this section or giving it some more variation.
  • The leading 7th at 118 and back to the original theme feels too un-nuanced. Perhaps you could incorporate something with more movement to lead back into it.
  • The coda (137-146) is nice and fast. Again, I love the switching back and forth between the hands. However, the end came very suddenly and, in my opinion, disappointingly. I woudl suggest either getting rid of the 16ths in the bass or give the right hand some movement to match.

Overall, a very enjoyable piece of work. I've definitely got those melodies stuck in my head now! 😉

Edited by Tónskáld
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Many thanks to both for some very valuable and comprehensive feedback!  Definitely helpful as I continue to polish it up.

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I've uploaded a new revision, largely addressing the unplayability of the fugato section and some other edits.

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