clazzical sonata in c – the ‘hammerclazz’
The clazzical sonata in c – the ‘hammerclazz’ was commissioned by Michael Blake for South Africa’s New Music Indaba of July 2006, which was to feature new compositions celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Reddy only began work on it at the end of June, however, completing it on 1 December. He printed out the Sibelius file dated 22 November 2006, when it reached 847 bars, but the final version of 1 December has 855 bars although it is still signed, at the end, ‘konstanz, 22 November 2006’. It became one of several large-scale pieces Reddy printed out and spiral-bound under the imprint, ‘Dorothy Publications’, after the middle name of his partner, Heike Asmuss. These private publications had beautiful, sometimes very funny illustrations and the present publication incorporates the extra pages of illustrations and notes. Given how much else Reddy was working on at the same time, the ‘hammerclazz’ (a reference to Beethoven’s monumental piano sonata op. 106) was written at high speed.
This is the first piano sonata Reddy wrote since he composed a much shorter, serial work in 1979. It is a huge work in three movements, which pay tribute to Mozart (i), Beethoven (ii), and Chopin and Scriabin (iii). The Mozart movement is the longest (and it has a repeated exposition), perhaps because Mozart was crucial to the work’s genesis. The tonality of C major predominates, and there are many classical piano figurations. But there are also passages strongly influenced by jazz and several places where the pianist is expected to improvise. Reddy’s score is littered with idiosyncratic expression marks, dynamics, comments, asides, and also, sudden shifts of tempo, the latter sometimes represented by impossible metronome marks that occasionally change every bar. It is self-consciously playful and virtuoso, an overflowing celebration of the composers whom – Bach aside – Reddy most loved.