John McLeod: Piano Sonata No 5 [download]
Commissioned by Murray McLachlan with investment from Creative Scotland the Hope Scott Trust. Composed 2013.
Computer typeset score (19pp) scanned to pdf for immediate download.
As in my first and third sonatas, this new work is in one continuous movement and, like the first sonata, the form is very similar and akin to the concentration of ideas and structure of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. But that’s where the similarity ends, because the musical language and is completely different from Liszt’s great work and indeed very different from my first sonata which was composed in 1978.
Two themes dominate here – firstly a dissonant helter-skelter motif runs around and keeps on developing in a rather persistent manner before it makes way for a completely contrasting and more tender theme in waltz time. There is much argument about which one is more prominent, so much so that it is quite difficult for a slow and much more Romantic middle section to make its presence felt. When it does it is not happy or settled and keeps on going off in tangents of development clothed in highly virtuosic passages which never seem to end. However, as the argument draws to a close and the principal themes restate their importance, the dark eloquence and expressiveness of the middle section returns and the work ends with several unanswered questions and, perhaps, asking what might have been.