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Third Piano Sonata


My third Sonata was a commission from the pianist Alan Feinberg. I composed it during the summer of 1986, and it was first performed by Mr. Feinberg on 31 January 1989.

Beyond the obvious externals of layout (three movements) and length (21 minutes), there is little that I can say of the music itself. Of course it continues my long-standing concern with integrating certain largescale architectonic features associated with traditional western developmental form with the enlarged pitch-relational vocabulary of the present day. But there is no message conveyed, nor “point” being made other than in the expressive relationships of the notes them­selves. The virtuosity required to play the piece is perhaps the clearest manifestation of my extremely high regard for Alan Feinberg’s playing.


"Incredibly exciting and affecting ... rip-roaring Wuorinen." Leighton Kerner, Village Voice "If  Thelonius Monk had been blessed with Art Tatum's technique, this might have been the result." Los Angeles Press Telegram "Mr. Feinberg’s high-energy reading of Mr. Wuorinen’s Sonata No. 3 also focused on dramatic continuity, particularly in the first movement, in which interlocking melodic strands seemed in this performance to carry vague echoes of Baroque keyboard music. Allan Kozinn New York Times "A big virtuoso show piece for the performer ... a wild piece. Its first and last movements scampering about the keyboard in feverish excitement for pages on end. Wuorinen's Sonata, sounds like music born of deep inner necessity, something its composer had to write." Robert Finn, Cleveland Plain Dealer