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Sonata No. 1 (Dualities) was written between February and July of 2020, and serves as a reflection on two pairs of opposing ideas. The first movement, Arrival, was inspired by the excitement and freedom of spirit I felt as I embarked on a semester abroad in Vienna, Austria. This movement comprises three themes – an emphatic and sweet main theme which is recalled many times over, a sporadic, almost hyperactive B theme, and a cool and serene C theme.

The second movement, Abandoned Corporeality, aims to reflect the feeling of losing one’s sense of physical form and untethering from the physical world. Cross-string hammer-ons and whirling arpeggios give this movement an otherworldly, ethereal character, which transforms into something more stoic and resolute by the movement’s conclusion.

Just To Be serves an inverse aesthetic goal to Abandoned Corporeality, reflecting the feeling of blissful, playful, and confident groundedness – a serene yet vibrant comfort with the current time and place. This movement also serves as a thorough (yet incomplete) compendium of extended techniques on the classical guitar, with many unique percussive and harmonic timbral features.

Departure is the counterpart to Arrival, and captures what I was feeling at the threshold of the COVID-19 pandemic as I was forced to end my studies in Vienna prematurely. This movement is somber yet full of resolve, with a strong, slow melody bookending dissonant outbursts and luxuriantly sonorous swells

Sonata No. 1 (Dualities) by Anton von Sehrwald

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