GLORIA COATES (b.1938): Piano Sonata No. 1 "Tones in Overtones", RUTH SCHONTHAL (1924-2006): Sonata Breve, JOEL FEIGIN (b.1951): 4 Meditations from Dogen, Variations on Empty Space, AMY BEACH (1867-1944): 5 Improvisations, Op. 148.
Catalogue Number: 07M097
Description: Feigin's Meditations are based on Zen poetry by Dogen Zenji (13th Century), reflections on mountains and water in their different moods. Straightforward and tonal, the pieces are atmospheric and attractive. His Variations is an in memoriam piece built of sonorous piano effects (including direct contact on the strings) alternating with a simple song-like theme and the decay of sound into silence. Schonthal was a Hindemith student, and her six-minute sonata, a study in economically expressed, contrasting themes, has something of the older composer about it in its concise clarity of argument. Coates' sonata is a study in sonorities and overtones generated in different ways - the first movement is almost entirely built of the note 'c' in different registers, rhythms and dynamics; the second is a richly harmonized exploration of the Dies irae; the third generates its material through glissandi and rapid figuration with much use of pedal, and the fourth adopts a similar approach to the first, but using a chord rather than a single pitch. Margaret Mills (piano).