ZJK Piano Sonatas


Below are ZJK Sonatas No. 1 and 2 "Genesis" and "The Beast" 

Sonata No. 1 in G Minor "Genesis"

Sonata No. 1 is my first multi-movement work hence it's nickname "Genesis".  After studying many multi-movement works from the classical era it bothered me that there wasn't always an identifiable trait which actually bound the movements together musically other than perhaps that there were different expectations for each of the movements.  In this regard, I was very taken with the idea of Beethoven's 5th symphony which provided a musical motive that was often referenced throughout the movements.  This in-turn inspired much of the thought behind the creation of Sonata No. 1.  

Movement One jumps right in with a sort of announcement to gain everyone's attention prior to displaying the it's first theme or what I would consider the 'primary theme' of the entire multi-movement work.  It has a heavy classical and romantic influence and you may even be able to catch a musical quotation if you have studied much of the established repertoire for pianists.   

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 1 in G minor: 1st movement

The Second movement of "Genesis" has a very light feel that slowly erodes away into a more serious somber tone.  It has a mixture of influences such as simple song-like melodies but also of film music and Chopin Nocturnes.  The material that really develops and pushes forward the 2nd movement is found in the first movement.  The first being a motive developed from the 1st movements primary theme but the second is slightly more disguised.  See if you can find it.  

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 1 in G minor: 2nd movement

The third movement of this Sonata is very fun to play and perform.  This movement contains the infamous 'unending trill' which at the time was written with the audience in mind.  In it's first public performance the pianist began the 'unending trill' and then turned to look at the audience as they continued to trill which, in effect, is almost like a character breaking the 'fourth wall' as a piece of music seems to be aware of the audience it's being played for.  

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 1 in G minor:  3rd movement

Sonata No. 2 in D minor "The Beast"

The Second Sonata was created with a more programmatic mindset.  The different themes are meant to represent certain characters and the entirety of the work is meant to tell a sort of story between a valiant warrior and a formidable beast (you may even find a damsel in distress somewhere in the mix)

The first movement contains again the primary theme which will be carried through all three movements and as such deeply enriches the experience of the following two movements.  It also has a unexpected fermata placed in the middle of the main theme which is a very fun effect for performances.  

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 2 in D minor - 1st movement

The second movement is very sad and gets into some especially disturbed harmonies.  The primary theme does show up once again but disguised somewhat in the left hand and personal note it ends with what I once considered the most beautiful piano moment I had written at that time. 

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 2 in D minor - 2nd movement

The third movement is where the ferocious beast shows it's face most clearly.  You'll have to wait until the end to see who triumphs the hero or the beast.  This movement also contains the 'pedal trick' ending in which the final resolution is done with the feet (through pedal work) rather than with the hands.  This piece was used by a student to win an Chicago-area piano competition.

Download the Sheet Music for Sonata No. 2 in D minor - 3rd movement