Hyunjung Rachel Chung | Three Piano Sonatas by Women Composers

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Classical: Piano solo Classical: Sonata Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Three Piano Sonatas by Women Composers

by Hyunjung Rachel Chung

Genre: Classical: Piano solo
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Clara Schumann Piano Sonata: I. Allegro
8:50 album only
2. Clara Schumann Piano Sonata: II. Adagio
3:25 album only
3. Clara Schumann Piano Sonata: III. Scherzo
2:33 album only
4. Clara Schumann Piano Sonata: IV. Rondo
5:11 album only
5. Cécile Chaminade Piano Sonata: I. Allegro Appassionato
6:47 album only
6. Cécile Chaminade Piano Sonata: II. Andante
9:23 album only
7. Cécile Chaminade Piano Sonata: III. Allegro
3:07 album only
8. Florence Price Piano Sonata: I. Andante–allegro
9:43 album only
9. Florence Price Piano Sonata: II. Andante
5:59 album only
10. Florence Price Piano Sonata: III. Allegro–presto
8:11 album only


Album Notes
Sonata in G minor by Clara Schumann
Sonate für Klavier g-moll, the composer’s first and the only large-scale composition in the genre, was not published until 1991. In 1841, shortly after her long-awaited marriage to Robert Schumann, Clara wrote the first two movements of the sonata titled as Sonatine. Allegro und Scherzo as a Christmas gift to her husband. Robert expressed his appreciation in a letter to Clara’s mother Marianne Bargiel: “utterly delicate and much purer in their writing than anything she has written before . . .” Clara finished the work the following month by adding the Adagio and Rondo movements, and she referred to it as a sonata in their joint diary. The first movement is in concise sonata form filled with many tempo changes and effective chromaticism. The closing theme becomes the main motive of the ensuing movement in E-flat major, Adagio con espressione e ben legato. The third movement, Scherzo, was published in 1845 as a part of 4 Pièces fugitives, Op.15. The Sonata closes with a finale in five-part rondo form with a brisk coda.

Sonata in C minor, Op. 21 by Cécile Chaminade
Chaminade’s music reflects the mature Romantic style of the period with her unique sensitivity. Although her music has been neglected for years, she had enjoyed considerable success as a pianist and composer both in Europe and in the United States. Furthermore, most of her compositions were published during her lifetime, thanks to her husband and a music publisher, Louis-Mathieu Carbonel. This large-scale work does not open with a typical sonata-allegro form. Instead, the first movement poses an enigmatic structure close to an arch form that is mirrored around the development section, in which the dramatic transformations of the first theme prevail. After the lengthy and dense second movement, the Sonata ends with a virtuosic finale. The last movement was published previously as a part of Six Etudes de Concert, Op. 35 (1886).

Sonata in E minor by Florence Price
Despite her disadvantage of being an African-American and a woman composer, Florence Price left more than 300 compositions, including 20 orchestral works and over 100 art songs. The Piano Sonata in E minor was written in 1932 for the Rodman Wanamaker Music Compositions Contest along with her Symphony in E minor. Both of these works won a first prize, and the Symphony received its premiere with the Chicago Symphony in the following year. The Piano Sonata exhibits an agreeable blend of Romantic tradition, a hint of American nationalism à la Dvořák, and the clear influence of spirituals. The first movement is in traditional sonata form with a majestic introduction. In the second movement, Price set five-part form with a slow recurrent tune reminiscent of African-American spirituals. An extended introduction, significant both in content and length, precedes the seven-part rondo of the last movement. Both the principal themes [A] and the second episode [C] of the rondo in the cakewalk style contrast strikingly with the slow folk-like first episodes [B]. In preparing for this recording project, I discovered a number of discrepancies between the commonly available published edition and the manuscript autograph score preserved in the Special Collections of the University of Arkansas Libraries. For the most part, I resolved those discrepancies in favor of the composer’s autograph.

– Hyunjung Rachel Chung



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