Sonata for Flute and Piano (2012)
Composed by Paul Mack Somers
Published by Maruice River Press
Duration: 14 minutes
Includes score and flute part
II. “Dark Lake” Lento
III. Allegro energetico
As my wife Janet's 70th birthday approached in the late winter of 2012, I was mindful that I hadn't composed a note for her since our engagement 44 years before. So I decided to compose a flute sonata for her in secret. As I was working on it, I emailed a newsy note to our dear friend, the pianist Michiko Otaki, mentioning the sonata-in-progress. She emailed back almost immediatley telling me that I'd better be writing the piano part for her!
On the morning of Jan's birthday, April 20, I stealthily got out of bed and picked up the new piece where I had hidden it. With the piece held behind me, I said, “I'm afraid I don't have breakfast in bed for you, but [here I revealed the music] I do have sonata in bed!”
Between our 70th birthdays we held a big Saturday open-house for friends near and far. In planning it, we decided the piece would be played for the first time during the party. Michiko had flown up from Atlanta, Georgia, the day before to have time to rehearse the piece. And so it was that the Flute Sonata was premiered twice – earliy and again later – during the long party.
My intention was not to produce a virtuosic blockbuster, but an affectinate and graceful work requiring well-honed musicality as well as a fine technique. When I later asked Jan if she'd like me to recompose the flute part up to the level of technical brilliance I knew she had, she said no. She felt it is a piece a teacher could use for an excellent student a step below taking on the Poulenc or Prokofiev sonatas, and thus would be a quite useful addition to the literature.
The slow movement was first played using Jan's new bass flute. But we later decided the Sonata should be C flute throughout. Instead, the bass flute version of the slow movement has been extracted as a stand-alone piece titled Dark Lake (found here).