Aaron Jay Kernis: Sonatine (for violin and piano)

for pf/vn

Sale price$55.00

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Additional Info

  • Composer
    Aaron Jay Kernis
  • Publisher
    AMP and AJK Music
  • Arrangement
    Violin/Piano Accompaniment (VLN/PFA)
  • Format
    Score and Parts
  • Genre
    20th Century


for pf/vn

1. Oracle, Cetacea, Larkspur
2. Shaded Blue
3. Catch That Train

Composer note
Sonatine is a very misleading title. The “ine” at the end of Sonata would imply a small-ish, intimate effort — a miniature sonata, but that’s not the case here. This is a full-fledged sonata — if anything is small about it, it’s the second movement, which is shorter and less conclusive than my usual extended slow movements.

No, the reason the title is Sonatine is that it rhymes with my daughter Delphine’s name, and the piece is dedicated to her. She plays the violin (though doesn’t plan to go on with it as a career), and she did give the actual premiere of the second movement at home last year. The originating idea was that I’d write a piece at her level of accomplishment, but as usual I went a bit further than that, giving her a piece to work up to. A few years before, I’d written First Club Date for her cellist brother, and so I certainly had to complete the circle of inspiration from my children. (Over the years I also wrote a number of other pieces inspired by those wonderful creatures.....)

The first movement has a bold opening, with a jazzy second theme and a lyrical center. The name Delphine alludes to the Oracle at Delphi, dolphins and the Larkspur flower (also known as wild Delphinium), hence the title and slightly silly internal section headings listed above.

Delphine has often colored her hair blue, so the harmony of the second movement also has slightly bluesy harmonies along with highly colorful highlights.

I’ve always loved bluegrass and music of the American vernacular, and wanted to write a train-influenced, bluegrass-inspired final movement that reminded me of that first nail-biting day my wife and I allowed our kids to take the subway on their own. So rather than making a new arrangement of Orange Blossom Special, I found an unaccompanied song sung by Sam Ballard from the Lomax folk song collection from 1934, and based the movement on it to end the piece as a rip-roaring end to Delphine’s Sonatine.

I am thrilled that James Ehnes and Orion Weiss will give the world premiere!

— Aaron Jay Kernis

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