1. Etude I – The Visions of St Agnes of Montepulciano
  2. Etude II – The Paralysis of St Rose of Lima
  3. Etude III – St Catherine of Siena’s Heart
  4. Lumen Ecclesiae – St Dominic Gusman

Sonata 6Piano Sonata No. 6 (2019) is the first in a projected series of four sonatas that explore Dominican spirituality. This project stems from the composer’s own personal contact with the Dominican community in Valletta, both through family ties as well as through research. The project will see four four-movement sonatas. Each sonata explores the lives of three Dominican saints, with the fourth movement dedicated to St Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers.

The first sonata of the series examines three Dominican female saints, all three of whom were great mystics, hence the title ‘Visions’. Each movement is an ‘Etude’ – a study of one musical and spiritual idea. The first movement reflects on the visions of St Agnes of Montepulciano where, according to her hagiography, for nine consecutive Sundays she experienced  angelic visitations. The second movement recalls the story of St Rose of Lima who was on her way to join a nunnery when she stopped in the church of the Dominicans in Lima to pray one last time before living a cloistered nun. When she tried to leave she found herself paralysed and it was not until she realised that it was a sign for her to join the Dominican Order that she was able to walk again. The third movement recalls the episode wherein St Catherine of Siena experiences a mystical vision in which Christ appears and ‘takes’ her heart and replaces it with his.

The final movement, titled ‘Lumen Ecclesiae’ (‘Light of the Church’) is structured as three fugal Ricercares that are replete with musical symbolism in order to express the depth of St Dominic’s vision. It is envisaged that this movement will be the final movement for all planned four sonatas – providing a central focus for all four works.

Piano Sonata No. 6 ‘Visions’ was premiered by the composer on Saturday 23rd November 2020 at Palazzo de la Salle in Valletta.

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