Sonata After Vivaldi
About this work:
It was a common practice among composers of the Renaissance and Baroque Eraþbefore the Romantics placed a premium on originality and noveltyþto base certain new works on already existing polyphonic compositions by other composers. Indeed the
craftsmanship and inventiveness of those composers can be assessed as much in their parodies as in their original works. The purpose of a parody was not merely to transcribe an old piece but rather to reinvent it while speaking, as it were, in one's
own distinctive dialect.
My Sonata after Vivaldi is just such a parody, based on a sonata in F major by Antonio Vivaldi for cello and basso continuo. In it I retained the basic phrase structure and rhythms of the cello part while redesigning the melodic routes taken by it from cadence to cadence and elaborating the keyboard part in a way that exceeds that of an ordinary figured bass realization. This sonata is said to be for cello "with piano" rather than "and piano" to emphasize the dominant role played by the cello and the subservient role played by the piano.
My reason for choosing Vivaldi lay in my admiration for his forthrightness, the variety and power of his expression, and for his economy of means. My choice of this particular sonata perhaps
grew out of an awareness that, had I been a ontemporary of Vivaldi, this is the kind of sonata I would have hoped to write.
Sonata after Vivaldi was completed in March 1981 while I was on a sabbatical leave of absence from Queens College and was given its first performance there by cellist Alexander Kouguell and the composer in April 1983. They have since recorded it for Arizona University Recordings (AUR CD 3112)
Score and part available from Mira Music Associates. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Version: for cello with piano
Year composed: 1981
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Keyboard plus One Instrument
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Cello