Stuart MacRae – Piano Sonata No 2

How did the piece come about?

I had wanted to write a new piece especially for Simon Smith for some time, and with the help of an Athenaeum Award from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I was able in 2016 to spend some time working directly with Simon on ideas for what would become my Piano Sonata No.2. Initially I had only planned to write about eight minutes; but as I worked on the material, it branched out into four separate movements, each of which expanded from within, until the piece ended up being over twenty minutes long. Each movement takes a different approach to a personal reinvention of the piano.


What other projects do you have on the go at the moment?

I’m writing a new opera with Louise Welsh, and am in the middle of a series of pieces based on the Prometheus myth for the Lammermuir Festival.


What other pieces have you seen or heard in the last year that you think will stand the test of time?

It’s hard to say, isn’t it? I was particularly impressed with Brett Dean’s Hamlet, which I saw at Glyndebourne last year. It did so many things that I think are essential to opera today, and it tackled the extremely difficult problem of adapting Shakespeare into convincing opera admirably well.


What is the piece that you would most like to write?

Well, apart from the pieces I’m already working towards, there are certain works of Shakespeare that I’d like to work out how to turn into operas. And I’d love to get involved with writing ballet music.


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