Sonata da Chiesa (III)
Like my Sonata da Chiesa for woodwind quartet and harpsichord (also published by Cimarron Press), this new work uses hymn melodies from the German Baroque as its principal thematic material. But where the earlier work was based on Christmas hymns, this new Sonata is intended for the Easter season. This piece, like its predecessor, can serve in a variety of performance venues: Played in its entirety, the Sonata would work well in a concert setting. Played separately, its movements could easily function in an actual liturgical context: prelude, offertory, postlude, etc.
The ﬁrst movement begins in the tomb during the pre-dawn hours, so to speak, with a setting of the ancient melody Christ lag in Todesbanden (Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bonds). This is treated as a simple harmonization of the chorale in the brass. Wrapping itself around the chorale, however, (perhaps taking its cue from the title?) is a contrapuntal web of tendrils in the organ. The mood is quiet, reverent and introspective. In contrast, the second movement, Erschienen ist der herrliche Tag (On Earth Has Dawned This Day of Days) explodes in a jarringly remote key (But shouldn’t we be jarred by the Resurrection?) Here the hymn tune is conﬁned to the organ pedals, while the manuals and brass provide festive commentary.
The hymns on which the third and fourth movements are based offer responses to the narrative truths found in the ﬁrst two hymns. Auf, auf mein Herz (Awake, My Heart, With Gladness) is treated in canon throughout and presents a mood of conﬁdence and joy, as beﬁts a personal response to the message of Easter. The fourth movement, Gelobt sei Gott im höchsten Thron, (Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing) is full of exuberant celebration, appropriate to a corporate response.
|Publisher||Cimarron Music Press|