Duration (in minutes): 8'39;
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo brass with piano
Instruments: any brass, piano, tuba
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: Edinboro Sonata takes its name from Edinboro University Chamber Players. It was written for their concert series at the Erie County Public Library. This three-movement composition plays with the timbral possibilities of combining the various ranges and colors of the tuba and the piano in a work filled with melody. It is designed to be fun to play rather than purely virtuosic.
This work starts from the mysterious low range of the piano and the low range of the tuba – both on the same A. The mystery comes from the diffuseness of sound in both instruments in their low ranges. The tuba slowly glissandos from, then back to this note at the distance of a tritone. The movement is a true partnership between piano and tuba, with the melody transferred from one instrument to the other. The movement returns to its low register as it draws to a close. The second movement opens with a series of dramatic chords in the piano, spanning almost its entire range. The opening chords appear several times throughout the piece, and the top notes of the chords – EBCF#– with the order of the last two notes reversed, is also used on the downbeats of the piano runs. The tuba part, too, grows out of this series of pitches. The choice of the notes C followed by F# comes from the idea of uniting all three movements by the interval of the tritone. In the third movement, the running passages that open the first measure of the movement in the tuba and then are imitated in the piano are a variation on the opening glissando of the first movement. The two instruments imitate each other first at the octave and then at the interval of the seventh. Then the runs transpose the opening – increasingly varying the material as the movement progresses. The diffuseness of sound of movement one is varied here by the use of mute throughout in the tuba and the use of the soft pedal for several measures in the piano. This movement also plays with different rhythmic groupings – runs in groups of six, six mixed with four, and groups of five notes to a beat are among the rhythmic variants used. The movement approaches its end with several glissandi in the tuba once again outlining the interval of a tritone. The piece ends on the low A of the work’s opening, although this time the piano part is reinforced at the octave with the very lowest note of the range.
The Edinboro University Women’s Studies Department and Student Government Association and the Friends of the Erie County Public Library commissioned this work. It is dedicated to tuba player Daniel Burdick.