Laurie Matthew Duncan
Sonata No.2:
Trombone and piano

Crapaud, PE, , Canada
Publisher: Pine Grove Music
Date of Publication: 2014

Score and solo part. Grade 5.


This sonata is dedicated to Dale Sorenson, who premiered it in Winnipeg in November 2015 with the composer at the piano, in a series of recitals that included the premieres of eight of his recently written instrumental sonatas. Other works from this period include a large scale ‘Requiem’ for soprano soloist, chorus and string orchestra (2010), and a string quartet ‘Per l’Umanita’ (2013). Sonata No.2 is a substantial work, significantly longer than any other trombone sonata I have seen. It is thoughtfully laid out in consideration of the trombonist, the first movement not too demanding, an ideal 'warm-up' for the more demanding movements that follow. The roots of this piece are again in the nourishing soil of song and it abounds with markings such as Spirited, Joyful, and Always Singing. The composer’s extensive program note makes clear that there is a dialectic between the two protagonists that is never entirely resolved.


Cup mute is called for in the first movement, Placido (7:00), with markings such as luminous and cantabile throughout, ending ppp with three conflicting tonalities. The second movement, Vivace (3:05) is marked nimble and abounds in staccato 16th notes. The slow movement, Lamento (9:35) is the longest, and has the most extended range, DD-c2, and also calls for cup mute. The composer describes it as ‘an impassioned, heartfelt cry.’ It begins quietly in the mid-register, reaching into the upper register only in measure 80. Markings in this section include cantabile, warm, espress. and delicate. The final movement, Energico (4:15), at quarter=144 begins con forza and ff, but still sempre cantabile. It ends quietly on a long-held low G-sharp, marked distant; the piano plays an ambiguous minor third an octave below.


Both parts are quite challenging and there are many chords in the piano part spanning a ninth. The typesetting and production of these editions is Dale Sorenson’s work and he has done a superb job. Sonata No.2 is an excellent addition to the repertoire.

Reviewer: Keith Davies Jones
Review Published January 31, 2019