AMERICAN PIANO SONATAS

Praise for American Piano Sonatas Watkins plays this music “splendidly, bringing a fine balance of colorful tonality and elegance” to the works. - Peter Burwasser, Fanfare Magazine Watkins “plays authoritatively and expressively.” - Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News Watkins' new recording, American Piano Sonatas, is "an enterprising triptych of formally traditional but stylistically varied sonatas spanning seven decades. He plays authoritatively and expressively and is admirably recorded" (The Dallas Morning News). The disc features Howard Hanson's Piano Sonata, Op. 11, in its first recording as completed by the composer. The Sonata, composed in 1918, exists in two manuscripts, one incomplete, and the other completed, discovered in 2005, and published by Carl Fischer in 2011. The work features the gifts for which Hanson is primarily known, including soaring melodies and pungent harmonies. William Schirmer's Sonata No. 17, composed in 1974, has its first recording on this disc. The work has been compared to Prokofiev in its taught neo-classicism and dramatic harmonies. The emotional center of the work is its second movement which is dramatic and moving. Carlisle Floyd is America's Dean of Opera - his Piano Sonata, composed in 1956 and given its world premiere at Carnegie Hall by pianist Rudolf Firkusny a year later, reflects his sound world with angular dissonances combined with the sound of open fourths and fifths, combined with heart-wrenching melodies. This dramatic work's first movement showcases Floyd's unique compositional gifts especially in the haunting second subject. The central movement is a slow, dramatic fugue interrupted by a slow march of almost malevolent character with it's low "drum beat." The final movement is a lively toccata-like work with a slow central contrasting section. These three works represent American piano music away from the commonly recognized sonatas by Barber, Copland, and Griffes (and even MacDowell), and show the wide variety and beauty of American music. Released September, 2014. aps@scottwatkinspianist.com

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