Sonya's Lullaby - Triptych Part 2


Piano solo
First Performance
(final version) 6.1.79, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam: Michael Finnissy

Score 0-571-50568-6 on sale

Programme Notes

The word Lullaby is used in the sense of an incantation to sleep; Sonya is my daughter, who was a four-month-old insomniac in October 1977 when the first sketch of this piece was written. Formally the music is, I hope, self-explanatory –- but perhaps it is worth mentioning that an initials stimulus toward the piano writing was the harmonic exploitation of overtones produced from the lowest register of the instrument by composers as diverse as Brahms, Scriabin, Copland and Carter. Sonya’s Lullaby is the central panel fo my chamber music Triptych (the other two being Autumnal for violin and piano and Cantata for oboe and string trio) and was written for the composer-pianist Michael Finnissy, who gave the first performance of the final version in Amsterdam, January 1979.

© Oliver Knussen

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News & Reviews

'Sonya's Lullaby' reviews

‘Sonya’s Lullaby is immediately attractive because of its clarity of sound and shape. The magical opening chords give way to a rocking ostinato which develops texturally and dynamically under an increasingly embellished melodic strand….The piano writing in Sonya’s Lullaby is rich and inventive. The player trying to recapture what came into Knussen’s ear should find the struggle well worth it.’ Jonathan Dunsby (Music and Letters), 4 August 1981 Read more

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