Monday, May 25, 2009
A recent post here about all-white note pieces sent me looking for a copy of Virgil Thomson's Sonata No. 3 for piano (1930), written for Gertrude Stein who like to improvise only on the white keys. As might be expected from Thomson, it's brief, witty, and wise, alternating between playing the naif and the wiseguy. The disfunctional harmonies and athematicism keep the (third, of four short movements) waltz, in particular, safe from any out-of-place sentimentality. That athematicism and all the right wrong notes make this very easy-to-play piece suitable for children and others with very short or very long attention spans.