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Hello there!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to revise and continue one of my old compositions, a cello sonata, which I started around 2018 but have not managed to finish it. I decided to dig it out and start working on it again, and here it is.

The sonata is in four movements, depicting the various musical periods of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century.


I. Allemande/Fugue: This movement was meant to be a separate project on a baroque suite for cello and piano, but I decided to make it part of this sonata.The movement initially only had the Allemande part, then I decided to add in the fugue in the middle to make the movement more interesting with a contrasting middle section.

II. Allegro con brio: This sonata was in fact one of my early attempts in creating a piece in sonata form. I was quite inspired by Beethoven's sonatas at the time (both cello and piano), especially in the development section. To be honest, this movement is not really classical; it has some romantic references, especially the use of hemiola in the second subject inspired by a Brahms piece. I quite like how I have revised this piece, though I feel further improvements could be made.

III. Variations on a nocturne: The tune is very familiar, and I think you will guess it soon enough. The first two variations are inspired by Czerny etudes (again, another Romantic composer), while the third is a dance modeled on some sight-reading piece. The fourth is inspired by a Brahms cello sonata movement, then the fifth kind of follows the style of a movement from Tchaikovsky's cello concerto.

IV. Allegro marcato: The start is inspired by a Prokofiev sonata movement, in addition to one of Charles Ives' Violin Sonata which has an ostinato at the start. The piece functions as a recapitalization of the sonata, recalling motifs and ideas from the previous three movements. The start uses the fugue subject, for example. 

I hope you will all enjoy this piece. This piece is dedicated to a cello classmate in my music class. I have yet to show her this piece though haha.

Any suggestions and feedback are welcome.

Edited by zhenkang
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In the first movement I liked the allemande sections better than the fugue.  It does make for a nice structural idea to have the fugue be couched within two sections of allemande though.

To nit-pick the second movement, in m. 72 you have both a B natural and a Bb playing at the same time and I am not sure if that cross-relation was intended.  Also towards the end of this movement you also have the same cross relation in m. 116 and 118.  I guess you wanted to include a G major/Eb major mediant relationship but to me it just sounds wrong.  =/  Overall though I enjoyed the interaction between the piano and the cello in this movement.

It's a neat idea to have a variations piece on this well known and loved theme, but when a theme is as perfect as this one you risk detracting from it in your variations.  The beginning and the end were fine and I liked what you did making the long roulade that Chopin wrote into a cello cadenza - that was great.  I didn't much care for some of the middle variations though.  Don't let that stop you from composing more theme and variations pieces however as this is a very good way to expand your abiities and grow as a musician/composer.

There are many places in the fourth movement where the chromaticism just doesn't make sense to me such as m. 80-81 among others.  I do like the harmonic idea that you start out with in the very beginning.

For me the cadenza was a bit undeveloped.  In order for my ear to attach to a musical gesture it seems like it should be longer.

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