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Sonata for Euphonium and Piano,

Sonata for Euphonium and Piano, "Childs Play"

York, Barbara


  • Ensemble: Euphonium and Piano
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 4
  • Duration: 8.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: CM1346

Sonata for Euphonium and Piano “Child’s Play”

"This piece was written for the very youngest of musicians – one so young that he has not yet chosen his own instrument. Steffan Michel Thurman was born in 2007, the product of a great love between two fine and gifted musicians, a French Canadian mother and an African American father.

In the first movement you will hear a blending of this heritage of musical styles and cultures. It is finally time for his birth, and everyone is rushing around, trying to get to the hospital. His mother is shouting, “Now! Now! It’s time to go now!” and her excitement is mirrored in a musical style reminiscent of French Canadian folk songs. (There is a little “musical joke” inserted here, but only those familiar with a certain French Canadian folk song will be able to discern it.) As they prepare to rush out of the house, his father has a few more personal and probably masculine moments in the process. This is finally happening after all these months of preparation and he, like most expectant fathers, is finally faced with the reality of parenthood. If you notice a similarity between the next thematic material and the folk song, “Oh had I wings like Nora’s dove, I’d fly away to the one I love”, then you will not be totally mistaken. What expectant father has not felt both passionate love and also the immediate desire to run away at the same time? He later has an even more serious moment when he thinks about the hardship of life in general and of the world into which he is bringing his new son. Fortunately, the urgency of the moment far outweighs any time for contemplation and they proceed on their hasty journey to the maternity ward without further distractions.

The second movement is a depiction of the quiet, wonder-filled and truly awe inspiring moment of holding a new-born infant in one’s arms for the first time. In the third movement, we finally see Steffan, his presence and his personality really take over for the first time. The movement is somewhat jazzy and even unexpected, filled with multiple time signatures, rhythmic thrust, laughter and even some flirtatiousness. No matter how pleasant the more tranquil and affectionate nature of the middle section might be, it cannot last too long before the twinkle in the eye and the energetic momentum

The subtitle “Child’s Play” is a joke in itself, because anyone who thinks that having a child, raising one, being one or even playing music about one is as easy as we might expect, is invariably in for some surprises.

Many thanks to Demondrae Thurman and his family for sharing their inspiration, their warmth and the joy and intimacy of their life with me in the writing of this piece.

Barbara York, 2007


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