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Sonata No. 2 was composed between the Summer 2021 and Winter 2022, and dedicated to Marisa Sardo. The first movement, “Beyond Reach,” premiered and was tied for first prize in the 2021 Twisted Spruce Virtual Symposium and Competition. My primary aims writing this piece were to expand the timbral language showcased in Sonata No. 1 and highlight Marisa’s musical interests and proclivities.

Beyond Reach explores the technique of plucking the strings of the guitar between the headstock and the fretting hand, which has a different timbre and pitch content than standard technique. The relationship between the sounds on either side of the fretted hand in the same position is frequently highlighted. There is a strong influence from metal genres throughout both this movement and the larger work. The title of the movement relates to its tense, cloying, yet ethereal atmosphere, which is grounded by a warm, lyrical main theme.

The following movement explores the idea of solipsism, the philosophical perspective that posits that only one’s own mind can be known for certain to exist. Solipses (a made-up word) is based on this idea and relates to the disparate and isolated motivic ideas in the movement, which themselves can be interpreted as individual characters engaging in solipsistic thought. The slow, spacious sections that interrupt these motives offer respite from their chaotic surroundings, and develop in a more linear fashion. The climax of this movement includes an homage to Italian Romantic music, reflecting Marisa’s heritage and the fast, energetic music of this period that she loves.

Solace is a slow, indulgent movement drawing from both a lush, late -romantic language and a more austere, pointillistic modern style. Solace can be interpreted as a foil to Solipses in that it is vastly different and concise, although the former segues nicely into the latter.

Drawing Triangles derives musical material from absent-mindedly doodles I made while awaiting the results of last year’s Twisted Spruce competition. The sketches of interconnected triangles in this movement represent the shapes Marisa makes with her left hand on the fretboard. The triangles that make up each drawing are mapped to the fretboard with varying degrees of precision, with each drawing’s musical treatment being separated by a brief homage to earlier motives in the sonata. The movement culminates as a grand coda to Sonata No. 2, where familiar ideas interweave and coalesce into a grandiose and fiery conclusion.

Sonata No. 2 by Anton von Sehrwald

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