Piano Sonata No. 4 ‘Niċeċ / Niches’ (2009) is the first major work in a series of works created around the city of Valletta. The work is inspired by the many niches holding religious statues found all around Valletta. When Valletta was built in 1566 one of the many regulations was that at every corner there had to be at least one such niche. The presence of these niches meant that the faithful would light candles in front of them, thus guaranteeing a constant source of light in the evenings.

But these niches developed into something more than simply devotional street art or convenient street lighting. They became an integral part of the City’s fabric, serving to delineate parish territories, promote religious orders, and highlight important buildings. Some of them are wonderful works of art, whereas others are simple expressions of popular faith.

This piano sonata is in six movements, each of which is inspired by a late Renaissance or Early Baroque musical form. Each movement also embodies a concept that is relevant to this rich heritage of niches within the City.

Sonata 4 I – Preludio (Wirt / Heritage)

II – Ricercare (Dawl / Light)

III – Canzona (Indulġenża / Indulgence)

IV – Arioso (Ħarsien / Protection)

V – Lament (Telqa / Neglect)

VI – Toccata Fantasia (Wegħdiet / Promises)


Piano Sonata No. 4 ‘Niches’ was premiered by Alexander Vella Gregory on 15th September 2009 at the Haus der Musik, Vienna, Austria.

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