Piano Sonata No. 1

Solo Piano (2000)

I. Intro
II. Metric Misdemeanors
III. Maestoso
IV. Blues

Written for and dedicated to Geoffrey Burleson, who can do it all! Commercial recording on Brian Banks: Sonatas and Preludes, Centaur Records CRC2893, 2007. Geoffrey Burleson, piano.

Score Sample

Duration: c. 15 minutes

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BRB Preludes CD Jacket copyMy musical tastes tend to run the gamut between popular, folkloric and classical, Western and non-Western musics. Henry Cowell, by way of Lou Harrison in his Music Primer, reminds us that all music is hybrid music, and that there really is no such thing as musical purity. Influences pass from composer to composer, from culture to culture, and from formal to more informal contexts. I feel that the most interesting music pushes against the artificial boundaries between “High” and Low”, among others.

I think of my Piano Sonata as a kind of “kitchen sink” piece, where everything but that sink appears. It is inspired by mbira textures and minimalism, the tradition of avant-garde music (yes, it’s a tradition now!), fugal techniques and the blues. There is even some improvisation required to complete the fourth movement of the Sonata–without it, it’s performance is incomplete.