The things that can be said about all of
Roger Sessions's music are especially true of the single-movement Piano Sonata No. 2--it is full of proliferating invention, densely contrapuntal textures, and highly elastic rhythms and phrase structures; and a long, unfurling melodic line stretches from the beginning of the piece to the end. Piano Sonata No. 3 is in the traditional three-movement format, except that the typical classical format is reversed--two somewhat subdued slow movements surround a fiery scherzo. The third movement, "In memoriam: November 22, 1963," was composed as an elegy for John F. Kennedy.
In Donald Martino's Fantasies and Impromptus, six short impromptus are framed by three longer fantasies, which begin and end the work and stand at its center. The pieces embrace the widest diversity of texture and range, character and emotion. Perhaps the key word among many that might describe this music is "Omaggio," the title Martino has given to the symmetrically placed, and lusciously romantic, fifth and seventh impromptus. There is a sense in which all the fantasies and impromptus form a completely contemporary "homage" to the forms of Romantic piano music and to the poetry of its many moods. The work is full of Schumannesque impetuousness, pearly Lisztian cadenzas, and Chopinesque melancholy.
Reviews"The music of Sessions is complex, rigorous and brainy. But the composer could not have a more compelling advocate than Mr. Hodgkinson, who is afire in these works, playing with utter command and keen imagination." - The New York Times