Sean William Calhoun | Composer and pianist

Sonata No. 1 for Tuba and Piano (2017) – 14'

I. Monolith
II. Leviathan
III. "an abode of quiet"
My first sonata for tuba and piano, composed for tubist Jisang Lee, begins with "Monolith," in which the tuba draws a lugubrious theme among tolling and chiming chords in the piano. A somewhat warmer theme is introduced, but keeps being overtaken by the first theme. The movement ends with the tuba sinking into the depths as the piano returns to its knells. The tuba launches into "Leviathan," with dramatic leaping figures that the piano then takes up before forming the line among them into a more flowing melody. As the urgent motion settles to a low rumbling, the second theme from the first movement enters in the piano, with the tuba following in inversion. While the leaping figures cut off the interlude abruptly, the second theme returns near the end of the movement, building up to a dramatic climax involving all the main themes, before collapsing. The final movement, “an abode of quiet” begins empty, with stark high chords descending over deep bass notes. Themes from the preceding movements coalesce and form some of the most lyrical music in the sonata, but with a bleak landscape never far. The final movement’s title is a quote from the webcomic Stand Still, Stay Silent, by Minna Sundberg.