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Piano Sonata #6


d minor

Date of Completion:
Solo piano
Jun 25, 2013
Sonata in three movements

As are all my piano sonatas, #6 is a portrait of someone I know personally, in this case a friend I've known for decades. I'll call him Vito. I met Vito in the early 90's working as a software developer (we called them "programmers" back then) for a brokerage firm in Lower Manhattan. Vito's job, among other things, was to interface between the Cashiers department and the developers who supported their computer systems. Vito and I hit it off right away, and I would often sneak off with him to smoke cigarettes in the employees lounge, although I didn't smoke cigarettes otherwise. We soon moved from smoking cigarettes together to smoking pot, though not in the employees lounge. After a year or so, I left that job at the brokerage firm, but Vito and I would still get together from time to time for some smoke and dinner after work in Lower Manhattan, finding obscure corners between the skyscrapers where we could light up undisturbed by passersby. I'm retired now, but Vito is still working and we still get together in the evenings, the location depending on where Vito happens to be employed at the time. Currently, that's Long Island City in Queens, across the East River from Manhattan. So the sonata expresses various aspects of my long-standing friendship with Vito.

The first movement of the sonata, titled "Inevitable", depicts the eponymous stress and frustration of working in IT. This sentiment is reflected in the album cover, which is a photo I took at work (an investment bank at this point) from the window of a conference room on the 29th floor of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper. It was raining. The second movement, "Scherzo", has a main theme that sounds rather like a tarantella, the Sicilian dance. This didn't occur to me at the time I was writing, but I imagine this theme pays homage to Vito's Sicilian ancestry. The last movement, "New York Harbor at Night" was inspired by the many times Vito and I have stood on the edge of the East River in Queens, staring in a state of cannabic euphoria at the stunning nighttime Manhattan skyline.

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