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Piano Sonata in b minor by Boris Pasternak was composed in 1909 when the author was 19 and did not choose yet whether to pursue music or to dedicate his life to literature. The piece shows the strong influence of Alexander Scriabin, the friend of Boris's father and the frequent visitor of the Pasternak family country house. Single movement Sonata is written in a sonata form. It shows compositional technique typical of late Scriabin style, such as unstable and blurred tonality, chromatic dissonant harmony often based on the rows of fourths, etc. These features are combined with quite simple methods of thematic elaboration and building the phrases and sentences borrowed also from Scriabin. Despite the influence, Sonata is written by sure hand and has held a certain position in piano repertoire. In my orchestral version of it I usually kept to the original text while adding several new melodic voices to make the thematic elaboration prosess more consistent. It is obvious, however, that the orchestral texture introduced important changes in many aspects of sound and led to proper transformations of musical images and the general outline of the piece.
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© 2012 by Alexander Shchetynsky