Flute Sonata No. 2


Flute Sonata No. 2


for flute and piano (2004)

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  • Premiere: 31 July 2004  / WGDR Vermont Studios - Live Broadcast / Su Lian Tan, flute / Chris Molina, piano
  • Instrumentation: flute, piano
  • Duration: 15'
  • Dedication: To Lowell Liebermann and Jeffrey Khaner
  • This piece is published by Carl Fischer and therefore unavailable for digital download. To order paper scores please visit our partner distributor, Theodore Front.
Pianist Hugh Sung

Pianist Hugh Sung

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(Banner photo: Jeffrey Khaner)

Program note

Composed eighteen years after the first sonata, the similarities between the two works are striking: the musical voice is the same, of course — Hagen had already settled on his musical style in his early twenties — and the love of traditional compositional formal structures remains. However, the latter sonata is more dissonant throughout, and the musical ideas are more epigrammatic in nature. Whereas in the first sonata, development of each theme is discrete from the next, and traditional contrasts between themes obtain, in the second, development of ideas is often simultaneous, and the ideas themselves more "cellular" than traditionally tuneful.

The basic difference between the two works is that, whereas in the first sonata the second movment is in an ABA form, the entire second sonata functions as a rondo: Hagen's love of arch forms is fully expressed. That is, all three movements of the second sonata are rondos, and all of the movements share the same musical materials, which are alternated and overlapped.

Composed simultaneously with the song cycle for baritone and string quartet Alive in a Moment, the Sonata No. 2 shares several musical ideas with the first movement of the song cycle — notably, a rhythmic tattoo (based on the Morse telegraphic rhythm for S-O-S), and an artificial scale containing two augmented seconds. 

Sonata No. 2 was begun at Yaddo and completed in New York City on 23 July 2003. It is dedicated to Jeffrey Khaner and Lowell Liebermann. It was first performed on a live broadcast from WGDR's studios in Vermont by Su Lian Tan and Chris Molina on 31 July 2004. Jeffrey Khaner and Hugh Sung introduced the piece to Philadelphia audiences on 11 May 2005 at the Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music.