This piece for violin and piano was written for my colleague Joseph Kneer in 2008.
This violin sonata, subtitled Beautiful Savior, was written while I was studying at the Peabody Conservatory. The first movement is a somewhat standard sonata-allegro form contrasting a disjointed and frantic first theme with a calm and dreamy second theme. For the second movement, Joe gave me one of his favorite Lutheran hymns, "Beautiful Savior," to use as source material. The second movement is entirely based on this magnificently simple tune. I deconstructed both its melody and harmony and the movement begins in a desolate 12-tone landscape with the piano bass tolling like a distant church bell, lost in a thick fog. Gradually, the hymn is pieced together until finally the tune is revealed in its entirety, a moment that should feel like the sun breaking through on a dreary overcast day. Then, just when it has finally appeared, it dissolves back into the ether from which it came.