composed in 2000
dedication: for Nicolas Hodges
published by Novello and Co.
first performed by Nicolas Hodges, Purcell Room (South Bank Centre), London, 1 June 2000
recorded by Nicolas Hodges on Metier MSV CD92046
To chose a particular title for a piece is to establish a frame of reference within which one wishes to be understood. The symbolism of the number nine is well known; the Greeks imagined nine Muses, the Egyptians worshipped the nine gods who formed the Ennead of Heliopolis. Such ensembles are very much concerned with contrasts and relationships within the group. The nine sections of my Sonatina no.2 are not direct variations of one another, but they are related in the same kind of way as members of a family; that is to say that resemblances of appearance and character between them are entirely the product of their common origin.
Because these nine short movements do not conform to the kind of varied stylisation implicit in the idea of a Suite, I chose the word Sonatina to express the ideas of concentration and interrelatedness which characterise this music. The models I had in mind were not, of course, the teaching pieces of Diabelli and others, so much as the Sonatinas of Alkan and Busoni which exemplify this concept of a multum-in-parvo.