Sonata Piccola






SKU: 38P050040458


Sonata Piccola (S. 8va) by P.D.Q. Bach (1807-1742)?
For Piccolo and Piano (or Keyboard or Harpsichord)
Edited to no small extent by Professor Peter Schickele
Duration: 8:00

Most English-speaking people don't realize what the word piccolo means: it is simply the Italian word for “small.” The full Italian name for this instrument is the flauto piccolo, that is, “small flute,” so that when we say that someone plays the piccolo, what we are really saying is that he or she plays the small. Piccolo players are, therefore, unique members of the orchestra, but not because they play the highest instrument (violin harmonics can be higher) nor because they play the smallest instrument (the finger cymbals take up considerably less room), but because they are the only members of a standard orchestra who play an adjective. (The author of this note does not consider pianists to be regular members of the standard orchestra).

PDQ Bach actually wrote the sonata under question for an obsolete for of this instrument, the dill piccolo. The latter was, in fact, the original form of the instrument; piccolos used to be most commonly made by putting a flute into a barrel of brine for a few weeks, until it had shriveled up to one half its original size. In southern Italy, however, a different method was used: they would build a fire on the beach, put a large pan on it containing some olive oil and a little garlic, and then cook the flutes until they had shriveled up to the desired size (this event, in which the whole community participated, was called a Mediterranean flute fry).

The movement headings may be translated thus: Slightly Slow; Slightly Fast; Slighlty Slow Again; Slightly Fast Again.

The discovery of this work was commissioned by Laurence Trott, piccoloist of the Buffalo Philharmonic (and, believe me, you haven't lived until yoyu've tasted pickled buffalo); it was first given its modern performance by Mr. Ttrott in Carnegie Hall on December 27, 1982, with the humble editor of the score humbly playing the piano.

I. Andante Piccoloso
II. Allegro Piccoloso
III. Ancora Andante Piccoloso
IV. Ancora Allegro Piccoloso

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