On a dark afternoon, I watched breathlessly as Aphrodite illuminated the room with an infinity of iridescent swirls in her diaphanous white gown. Then she would stop and start up again in another direction, glittered blonde hair flying past as she swept me away with her. I could never have imagined that I would soon awaken from this dream-like day married to the goddess. The Sonata embodies this experience for me. The First Movement she dances, the Second Movement is the peaceful reception this dance found in my soul, the Third Movement a children’s melody I discovered one night in a dream during the composition of the piece.
The Dance of Aphrodite
Piano Sonata in F# minor
Moscow Stories (Suite)
St. Petersberg Rain
Meine Geliebte Schonste
Legends of Playtime
A visit to bleak, post-communist Russia with a brilliant but irascible teacher who was conducting the Moscow Philharmonic. Initially hopeful, then dejected, I extricated on the Night Train to wistful St. Petersberg and remained in my moods for a week.
Aphrodite went home one morning. She had been playing one of Beethoven’s early sonatas on the Yamaha Grand, and the page remained open. A day later, Meine Geliebte Schonste emerged. The translation from German is “My Beloved Most Beautiful.”
This piece could also be called “Chyros,” which describes life not merely as the inexorable passage of chronological time (“Chronos”) but as marked by moments tinged with some ineffable connection to the infinite. There have been a few such events in my life which always seem to demark the “B.C.E.” and “A.D.” of my existence. One of these was my introduction to a new group of friends on a winter weekend out of which the piece was born as a thank you to the playful soul who brought me. I sought to elicit from the music both her lightness and that beautiful, solemn place at the depth of her being. Her heart is always wide open.
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To: Bryan Matheson, without whose help this project would never have been realized; Todd Urbanos, for initiating all of these compositions by reminding me that composers write music and don’t just talk about it; Lou Stolis, in memorium, for bringing us all together in the first place; Carrie Smith, for Letting me play her bits and pieces over the telephone late at night and always finding a way to be supportive; Virgil Murray; Russell Fox; Johnterryl Plumeri; Merrill’s Music; Sherry Caris; Robert A. Johnson, for describing the music as “minor piquant bliss”; Dusty; and most of all, Sabina, aka Aphrodite, for more love, inspiration and support than I could have ever imagined possible.