Sonata for Flute and Piano Op. 14 (1960)

Robert Muczynski (1929-2010)

Program note written by Jacob Farmer

I. Allegro decisio
II. Scherzando (Vivace)
III. Andante
IV. Allegro con moto

Approximate Performance Time:
13 minutes

Advanced – appropriate for upper college undergraduates and master students

Emmanuel Pahud & Robert Muczynski. Sonata for Flute & Piano Op. 14. Naxos American Classics, n.d. MP3.

Source Article:
Thurmond, Anne Marie. “Selected Woodwind Compositions by Robert Muczynski: A Stylistic and Structural Analysis of Muczynski’s Sonata, Opus 14, for Flute and Piano, Sonata, Opus 29, for Alto Saxophone and Piano, “Time Pieces”, Opus 43, for Clarinet and Piano, and “Moments”, Opus 47, for Flute and Piano.” Order No. 9908572 University of Georgia, 1998. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Robert Muczynski, born in Chicago in 1929, was a renowned composer who studied Piano at DePaul under Walter Knupfer and composition under Alexander Tcherepnin. His first symphony was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at the age of twenty-four. He later returned to DePaul to teach composing, theory, and piano from 1955-1958. Muczynski became the head of composition at the University of Arizona at Tuscan, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. He continued writing long after his retirement. Muczynski’s Sonata for Flute and Piano (1960) has won multiple awards, and his other sonatas for piano are considered standard contemporary repertoire in academia. Muczynski died in 2010.

Piece Information:
Muczynski’s preface for his Sonata for Flute and Piano states:

“In Sonata-Allegro form, the first movement [Allegro deciso] begins with a syncopated four note figure announced by the flute. It has a restless urgency about it. This motive is gradually expanded, developed and varied as the music unfolds. There is frequent reference to it as both flute and piano share the ongoing dialogue. A pulsating energy is maintained throughout. The chattering Scherzo (6/8) is both whimsical and headstrong, requiring considerable control and endurance from the flautist. It is concentrated music; it goes by quickly and establishes a need for the contrasting movement which follows. As a respite from the two energetic movements, the Andante favours a kind of intimate and sustained music wherein the flute is assigned expressive, soaring lines of high intensity while the piano provides a subdued accompaniment throughout. The final, fourth movement [Allegro con moto], in rondo form, resumes the impetuous character of the opening music and sweeps along until arriving at a reckless “cadenza” for the flute followed by an outburst from the piano, as both instruments share in a conclusion of staggered rhythms and all-out abandon.”