Piano Sonata No. 2, op. 3
Mvmt. 1: Sarabandante
Mvmt. 2: Fugue
Mvmt. 3: Aria
Dedicated to Amanda Flohr

Produced by Henry Lim
Recorded at Jan Popper Theater, Schoenberg Hall, UCLA, September 10, 1998
Recorded and engineered by Jeff Richmond
with additional recording in the practice rooms of Schoenberg Hall, UCLA, November 19, 1998
Recorded and engineered by Henry Lim
78rpm by Timothy Edwards
Contains an sample of Sonata V for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Edited, mixed, and mastered by Henry Lim at the UCLA Music Library

Henry Lim, piano
"A Recording of a Recording"

John Cage, Henry Cowell, and Stephen Scott exemplified ingenious techniques for playing the piano besides the standard hitting of the keys--prepared, scraped, plucked, bowed, etc.  My second excursion into piano sonatas is a veritable catalog of these sounds, coalesced by manipulated editing on a computer and the tried and true sonata form.  The Sarabandante is an electro/acoustic hodgepodge of processed signals that swirl (obnoxious panning) around an otherwise straightforward sonata movement.  The Fugue, as the antique form suggested, is placed on a 78 rpm record, scratches and all, that hilariously needle skips into the surreal Aria in which all traces of a generic piano sound is lost.  It suggests gamelans, sitars, electric guitars, drums, a string section, and other such reverse engineered nonsense.      

The subtheme of this sonata is the constant reminder that it exists as a recording and that it's composition and performance are intrisically related to sound recording as a medium.   Beyond the fact that most of the sounds are multi-tracked effects which cannot be recreated in real time (other than as pre-recorded material, i.e. the backwards crashes, time expansions, etc.), there are the overt self-references to itself being rewound on a DAT, scanned on a CD, played on a vinyl record, and intertextualized with a sampled loop.  Indeed, any live performance of this work negates this aspect--I tend to think of it as representing, in the Glenn Gould sense, demise of the concert stage and the realization (and reception) of music via recordings, however carried out to an extreme.
   Available on the album Opp. 1-3
   Also available:
Music video for the Fugue (directed by Insung Hwang)
Download available here.
The "Ether Edit" of the Aria is on the album New Groove 3: Deconstruie le Groove Esoterique courtesy of Resist Records.
<< Back to Piano Sonatas