• Richard Rodney Bennett
  • Sonata for Guitar (1983)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

The composer gratefully acknowledges the technical assistance of David Meisner

  • Guitar
  • 18 min

Programme Note

My Guitar Sonata was written in New York City in November/December 1973 and is dedicated to Julian Bream. It is in four movements and lasts about 18 minutes.

The first movement (allegro) opens with an extended piece of brilliant passage work which explores the entire range of the instrument. After a sudden pause, there is a brief quiet lyrical phrase; this juxtaposition forms the basis of the movement.

The second movement (lento) again contrasts two elements, an impassioned recitative and a more measured slow passage.

The third movement (vivo) is a dance-like scherzo, which suggests the rhythms of Spanish music. There is a lyrical "trio" followed by a passage in which the scherzo and trio are briefly superimposed before the concluding reprise of the scherzo.

In the last movement (fantasia) I decided to introduce no new material but rather to combine elements from the three preceding movements into an improvisatory fantasy.

Although the Sonata is not a 12 tone piece, the unrelated thematic materials of each movement are treated in a freely serial manner; it is only in the last movement that a synthesis of the various materials is created.