Vicente Asencio: Sonatina

Catalonian composer Vicente Asencio (1908-1979) wrote the sonatina as an homage to Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

Throughout the piece, the composer creates rhythmical contrast by using tuplets: pairing simple rhythmic figures (divisible by 2) with compound ones (divisible by 3). This unique characteristic is already noticeable in the opening statement of the sonatina:

First 4 measures (first phrase):

 mm. 1: 2 notes + 3 notes
 mm. 2: 2 notes + 3 notes
 mm. 3: 3 notes + 3 notes
 mm. 4: 1 shorter note + 1 long note + 1 shorter note (syncopated rhythm)

The ‘unevenness’ of the rhythmic patterns in measure 1 and 2 stand in juxtaposition against the ‘even’ ones in measure 3. The following measure completes the first phrase of the opening, and uses a syncopated rhythm (a musical effect caused by off-beat).

Because of this, a listener might have a rather unstable feeling at first, struggling to follow ‘the beat’. A closer focus on the bass part however, could help getting both feet back on the ground.

Perhaps the biggest contrast to all of this can be found in the overall form of this piece, as the composer relies on a very balanced (dance) binary form (A-A-B-B), often associated with the baroque period. Italian baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti wrote a staggering total of 555 keyboard sonatas, mostly following the same popular structure, which explains Asencio’s tribute to this composer.

Form:

A1:
00 min, 12 sec

A2: 01 min, 03 sec
B1: 01 min, 54 sec

B2: 02 min, 56 sec