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Sonata (1957) for Solo Piano by Donald Harris; Daniel Beliavsky, piano

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Published on Aug 11, 2011

The entire film will be broadcast on August 28, 2011 at 4 PM on CUNY TV in New York (http://cuny.tv/). The film will be screened at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on March 29, 2012 at 6 PM. A Q&A session will follow with both Donald Harris and Daniel Beliavsky.

0:07 - Movement I - Fast

3:06 - Movement II - Very slow

6:13 - Movement III - Very fast

7:30 - Movement IV - Theme - slow with expression
8:22 - Variation I - a little slower
9:23 - Variation II - a little faster
10:10 - Variation III - broadly
10:42 - Variation IV - expressively
11:05 - Variation V - waltz
11:51 - Coda - calm

Daniel Beliavsky performs Donald Harris' Sonata (1957) for solo piano.

This music video is the conclusion of a documentary film, entitled Sonata (1957), produced in 2011, about composer Donald Harris (b. 1931) and his first independently composed work, completed in Paris after he left Nadia Boulanger's studio and before he began working with Max Deutsch. In Harris' own words, he loved every note; he caressed every note, and he felt liberated to compose freely in a style of his own choosing after an unremarkable start with Boulanger.

I learned and first performed the Sonata in July 2000, when Lukas Foss (1922-2009) invited me to perform at the Festival of the Hamptons on Long Island, New York. He prefaced his invitation with the condition that I play this Sonata by Donald Harris, his friend and colleague.

Since then, I have played the Sonata many times, and have even written analyses detailing the music's intricate structures. More importantly, I have grown to love the piece. The film was born out of the desire to make intimate and understandable a music whose aesthetic is complex and whose language is atonal. I wished for the film not only to explain what circumstances lead Harris to compose the Sonata, but also to expose an audience to the work's intellectual vigor and subtle emotional beauty. In effect, I hoped to make clear why this difficult and intricate music so captivated me. In these ways, the film is also an unfolding composition, one in which its uncommon protagonist, the Sonata itself, is gradually assembled from fragments into a complete, meaningful, and freshly interpreted performance.

--Daniel Beliavsky, 2011

Music Video Credits:
Produced and performed by Daniel Beliavsky
Film and photography direction by Alexis Boling
Sound recording, engineering, editing, and mastering by Engin Ufuk Kaplan
Edited by Bodine Alex Boling

© Daniel Beliavsky 2011
© opus1films 2011

www.opus1films.com

Sheet music available at www.presser.com

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