Monday, August 05, 2019

Bruckner piano music: Sonata in G Minor

So Anton Bruckner wrote piano music!

I found a cache of it on YouTube played by Francesco Pasqualotto, on Brilliant Classics.

Right now, I’ll talk about one piece, the Sonata in G Minor, WAB 245.  One movement is presented (although there are other short pieces in the collection that might have been intended as movements).

The music is a bit perfunctory and mechanical.  The second theme is a sweet but Haydn-like tune in the odd key of F Major, which would be the dominant key if the movement were in B-flat rather than G minor. This isn’t done often. The exposition is repeated.  The development is interesting but the recapitulation and ending is straightforward (back to G Minor after the second theme in G Major).
Stylistically, the music resembles my own (3 movement, 28-minute) Sonata in D Minor (1960), composed for a contest when I was 16.  Bruckner makes the harmonies more interesting by often modulating one half-step at a time in the development section.  In my own work, the harmonies in the Development section sound a bit trite and could use some innovation like this, but I have the device of repeating an ascending cadenza-like passage from the first movement twice, to introduce the finale and then to introduce a grandioso coda. Some new product from AVID Sibelius (Ultimate) may well enable me to make this work performable, because the piece actually would work with a virtuoso pianist.

I should respect the European Union and probably buy the CD before embedding and reviewing the other pieces.  All in good time.

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