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Sonata for Piccolo and Piano by M. Mower

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Published on Oct 22, 2012

Performed by Katelyn Kaiser (piccolo) and Yoonsook Song (piano) on October 20, 2012 at Ohio University.

Mike Mower studied classical flute at the Royal Academy of Music, London and later was awarded the Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. Mower also plays saxophone and clarinet and has led numerous Jazz ensembles. He founded and led Itchy Fingers in 1985, an internationally renowned jazz saxophone quartet, which toured the world until disbanding in 1997.

Sonata for Piccolo and Piano was commissioned in 2002. Mower says: Often referred to by musicians sitting nearby as the "AK47 of the Symphony Orchestra" or "The Screaming Twig", this smallest of all woodwind instruments hasn't enjoyed much good publicity to date. Why? Much of the past repertoire for solo piccolo has focused on the comedy aspect of this instrument, incorporating ear splitting shrieks and high bird like trills. All this is possible but there's much more to the piccolo than that. We all know about the power and razor-like possibilities of the top register but in its bottom register the piccolo can take on a charming woody, hollow and ethereal quality and the middle register can be commanding and assured without being overpowering but also sweet and lyrical.

Mower writes: Movement two (Gentle) concentrates on the lower end of the instrument with the piano taking the lead half way through in a quasi-improvised solo with lush jazz harmonies. The last movement (Fiery) is a fast "tour de force" for both instruments; the piano incorporates a walking bass line whilst the piccolo alternates with spiky phrases and flowing scalic passages. A lyrical break-down section leads back to the original feel.

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