Saturday, May 05, 2018

Diemer's Piano Sonata #3





Jeong in-Kim plays the Piano Sonata #3 in C by Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927 in Kansas City MO, the Midwest).  I don’t have a time of composition, might have been the 1950s.


The first movement (7 minutes) is marked Serenade/Toccata but the Toccata like theme, a rising figure, seems to open the work.  The serenade is a lyrical second subject in what seems like a compressed sonata form. The movements on a loud dissonance.

The second movement is called the Interlude, seems to be in A minor, but soon presents a jazz theme that might have come from Gershwin.

The expansive finale, Tango Fantastique, is very demanding, seems almost like perpetual motion, and ends on an impressive climax in E.  (My own preference is that works end in the tonality in which they start, but progressive tonality for cyclic works came into vogue with Mahler and Nielsen.) 
   
The overall style is tonal but dissonant, with heavy syncopated rhythms associated with dance.  Some of the harmonies sound a but impressionistic. 

This seems like an extremely difficult work (23 minutes) to play.

Emma Lou Diemer’s output is quite varied as to form and should be heard more often.  It compares well to Amy Beach.  She has often performed her own organ works.

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