William Bland: Piano Sonatas

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For William Bland (b. 1947), the piano sonata is an expansive form that houses far flung source materials and musical influences both popular and classical. His cycle of 24 piano sonatas (one in each of the major and minor keys) was begun in 1998 and currently stands at 16 completed works.

Bland's varied musical background has included work as a church organist, in musical theater, and as a teacher of composition at a number of universities and conservatories. At times intensely original, at other times innocently sweet and derivative of a variety of popular genres of the past, Bland's sonatas are both nostalgic and adventurous in their argument. Sonata #4, in E-flat Major - 4 "Goodbye" Concert Rags was composed in 1999. Each of its four movements is based on a quotation that suggests a farewell. The three short pieces are transcriptions of works that Bland has composed for other media- the Air de Ballet and Nouveau Rag originally appearing in his Dance Book (1995) (12 Dances for guitar), and the Pastorale a reworking of the second movement of his Piano Concerto (1993). Sonata #14, in B-flat Major is more traditionally classical in design, with its first movement bearing no extra-musical references, and its second and third movements stemming from specific musical inspirations. In the words of the composer, "It is more like a classical sonata, and less like an imaginative journey."

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PDF Booklet

Sonata #4, in E-flat Major - 4 'Goodbye" Concert Rags (1999)
Air de Ballet (1995)
Nouveau Rag (1995)
Pastorale "Barbara and I walking in the countryside before sunset: picking wildflowers" (1993)
Sonata #14, in B-flat Major (2003, rev. 2005)

William Bland, piano