Canfield: Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano (Tehillim)
Code: JP9010 ISMN: 979-0-3019-0145-8
The Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano, "Tehillim," was composed in 2011. The subtitle, "Tehillim" is the Hebrew word for "Psalms," and the sonata sets four of the 150 canonical psalms, Psalms 121, 22, 137, and 103. The composer has attempted to portray certain things in each of these psalms in the music.
In the first movement, a setting of Psalm 121, there is an ascending line to suggest the fact that this psalm is one of those termed as "A Song of Ascents." Additionally, the line "He will not let your foot be moved" is suggested by repeated unchanging solid chords in the piano part, as the violin wanders around above them. The second movement sets Psalm 22, containing the opening cry of agony by the psalmist, and later the Savior upon the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Consequently, the movement is full of dissonant gestures portraying this agonizing outburst. The third movement depicts the lament of the people of God as they have been carried off to captivity in Babylon as found in Psalm 137. Contrasting this is the final movement, a setting of Psalm 103. The dance-like character of this movement remembers King David's dancing before the Ark of the Covenant as he reflects on the benefits of his relationship with his God.