This volume contains Lilburn’s two piano sonatinas.
Sonatina No.1 (1946) combines geometric patterning of classical forms with the distinctive simplicity of colour and line that the composer so admired in the work of the regionalist painters. The first movement hymns a fundamental vitality – a fresh start in the morning land that is New Zealand; an almost geological majesty pervades the second movement and a three-note motive sets the finale in motion.
Composed in the Autumn of 1962, Sonatina No.2, together with Symphony No.3, provides the fullest expression of Lilburn’s last notated music before he turned to the electroacoustic medium. Spare, elegant and eloquent, both the sonatina and the symphony are rich and distinctive works that maintain a tension that keeps them taut as cords in our collective memory. Although the pianists who know the sonatina so well from the inside talk of its subtleties, beauty, delicacy and meaning, it will always be a work of immediate appeal, a work that is as much a delight to listen to as to play, a work that can be enjoyed as pure music.