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Sonata Hymnica No. 4

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By James Siddons

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Piano Solo - Level 3 - Digital Download
Composed by James Siddons. 20th Century, Christian, Concert, Gospel, Traditional. Score. 24 pages. James Siddons Music and Writings #6135401. Published by James Siddons Music and Writings (A0.972666).

Item Number: A0.972666

In the Sonata Hymnica Series, composer James Siddonsdraws on the ethos of American rural hymns and spirituals to create evocationsof the deeper, larger meaning of familiar church melodies. These sonatas forpiano solo explore these deeper meanings in a variety of contemporary musical influences,while keeping in mind the acoustics of small rural churches of the latenineteenth century, with wooden floors and walls, high ceilings, and dimensionsdetermined by local builders who knew how to shape a room for resonantacoustics in an age of no electricity and no microphones. These sonatas are butpartly about the specific melodies and words, and mostly about their meaning inspiritual contemplation . . . and the piano, resonating, reverberant, sometimeswhispering---as a sacred harp.

SonataHymnica No. 4 draws on two religious songsof the era. The first to be heard in the sonata, "It Is Well with MySoul," was written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873, after surviving thesinking of the ship Ville du Havre in a storm. A phrase in stanza 1,"When sorrows like sea billows roll," is the inspiration for thepresent interpretation of Philip P. Bliss' hymn tune, composed for Spafford'spoem in 1876. The dynamic image of storms at sea has a long history, fromChrist Walking on the Water (Mark 4:35-41) to the medieval chant (a sequence) Rexcaeli, Domine maris

undi-soni ("King of Heaven, Lord of the wave-sounds") toFranz Liszt's Legend for piano solo St. François de Paule marchant sur leflots (St. Francis Walking on the Waves) to Spafford's poem.

The melodictheme for what amounts to the second movement of this sonata is from GeorgeBennard's "The Old Rugged Cross" (words and music composed togetherin 1913). A phrase from the refrain, "And exchange it someday for acrown," is the inspiration for this piano interpretation's expression oftriumph over sorrow, danger, and adversity. A Coda combines the two themes heardin this Sonata Hymnica.

Performance Note for Sonata HymnicaNo. 4

Thepianist must keep in mind that these sonatas are about playing the piano asmuch as playing a composition. Musical effects characteristic of the piano inAmerican culture in the 1870-1920 era are the substance of these piano solos.Touch is important: in many places, several dynamics are called for on the samebeat. A passage built on the "It Is Well with My Soul" tune evokes violentstorms at sea and should be played boldly. Further on, the Refrain melody of"The Old Rugged Cross" is used to evoke a feeling of flying effortlessly in thesky. Both passages have cinematic characteristics

This product was created by a member of ArrangeMe, Hal Leonard’s global self-publishing community of independent composers, arrangers, and songwriters. ArrangeMe allows for the publication of unique arrangements of both popular titles and original compositions from a wide variety of voices and backgrounds.

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