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Sonata (2001)

for solo Marimba

Listen to excerpts:  

Marimba Sonata, Mov't I. - excerpt
Marimba Sonata, Mov't II. - excerpt
Marimba Sonata, Mov't III. - excerpt
Marimba Sonata, Mov't IV. - excerpt

Instrumentation:  marimba solo.



I. Perpetuum

II. Unrelenting in intensity

III. Slow, mysterious

IV. With great energy

Duration: 12 minutes


Program Notes:

I wrote my Marimba Sonata for marimba virtuoso Makoto Nakura during my year-long stay at the American Academy in Rome as a recipient of the Rome Prize in 2001. The 14-minute sonata is cast in four contrasting movements and my idea for the work was to bring out two different aspects of the marimba: the virtuoso aspect (quick running passages where the performer's hands seem to blur) and its ability to "sing" (long, lyrical lines) even though the instrument has no true sustain. The first movement begins almost without tempo, with a series of accented notes. Gradually, a pulse emerges and the music takes off into a constant stream of running 32nd notes and a rapid perpetual motion. The second movement is a scherzo of sorts where the marimba’s sudden loud gestures are contrasted by single soft tones in between. Next is the slow movement where the low marimba emerges from silence and "sings". The fourth movement concludes the work with a rhythmically driving finale.


-- Pierre Jalbert

© 2016 Pierre Jalbert, Sonata for Marimba

Photo:  Julia Jalbert

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