Sonata for Flute and Piano, American Portraits



For flute and piano.

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James M. Stephenson Sonata for Flute and Piano, American Portraits

Premiered by Marie Tachouet and Kay Kim at the National Flute Association 2022 convention
August 12, 2022 in Chicago, IL.

I. Moderato assai
II. Andante walk-along and foxtrot
III. Steady and rhythmic

I’m very delighted to have been asked by the Chicago Flute Club to write a new sonata for flute,
to be premiered at the National Flute Association 50th Anniversary Convention held in Chicago in the summer of 2022. My piccolo sonata was premiered at a Chicago Flute Club event in 2018, and I am so grateful that they felt comfortable having me write a new piece for their beloved instrument!
Furthermore, being from the Chicago-area myself, it simply warms my heart to have been given the opportunity to write a piece where every piece of the puzzle is Chicago-based.

The Chicago Flute Club engaged Marie Tachouet to premiere this sonata, and I met with her a few months before writing this work so as to get her sound and her personality in my ear.
Right away, I was struck by her purity of tone, and her musical approach to everything she played.
It was then that I knew I wanted to write something tuneful. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity for her to express herself. That affect mainly comes in the 2nd movement, a bluesy “sit-on-the-porch” kind of movement, from which the nickame “American Portraits” is mainly derived.

The outer movements are up-tempo, as might be expected, and contain contrasts of “American-sounding” language: jazz-tinged, or even pop, harmonies, rhythmic intensity, and grandiose gestures.
As per sonata “rules”, both parts are equally dynamic. Having collaborated with Kay Kim on several occasions, I’m excited to have had the opportunity to write this for her most capable hands as well.

~ Jim Stephenson; May 18, 2022

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