Piston Sonata for Flute and Piano


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Piston Sonata for Flute and Piano

Piston Sonata for Flute and Piano

Publisher-Hal Leonard
Dedicated to Georges Laurent


Composed in 1930, this flute sonata consists of three movements suitable for advanced players. The first adheres to the traditional sonata form, while the second brings rich counterpoint. The finale showcases playful rhythms inspired by tango, polka, and march. With modal melodies and unexpected chromaticism, this sonata remains a frequently performed American flute piece.

Walter Piston

Walter Piston (1894-1976), the American composer, is renowned for his symphonic and chamber music, as well as his influential role in shaping the 20th-century Neoclassical style in the United States.

After graduating from the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design), Piston pursued music studies at Harvard University and in Paris under Nadia Boulanger and Paul Dukas (1924–26). Upon his return to the United States, he became a faculty member at Harvard University, ultimately achieving the position of professor of music in 1944 until his retirement in 1960. As a highly esteemed teacher, he held significant sway over contemporary American music, mentoring notable students such as Leonard Bernstein. His impact extended through the publication of four important textbooks: Principles of Harmonic Analysis (1933), Harmony (1941), Counterpoint (1947), and Orchestration (1955).

Piston’s compositional style is Neoclassical with occasional Romantic elements, known for its structural solidity and rhythmic liveliness. His programmatic works include the orchestral suite Three New England Sketches (1959), and the ballet The Incredible Flutist (1938) represents his sole composition for the theatre. Among his notable works are eight symphonies, with the third (1947) and seventh (1960) receiving Pulitzer Prizes. He also composed two violin concerti, a viola concerto, a concerto for two pianos, a Capriccio for harp and string orchestra (1963), a concerto for clarinet, the Lincoln Center Festival Overture (1962), and a concerto for string quartet and orchestra (1974). His chamber music repertoire comprises five string quartets, a quintet for piano and string quartet, and a wind quintet.


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