Chamber Music

Robert Avalon at piano, conferring with violinist

Robert Avalon at piano, rehearsing the violin sonata with violinist, Houston, Texas (ca. mid-1990s)

 

Violin Sonata, Op. 6 (1983)

About this work:

The Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 6 is one of Robert Avalon's earliest major compositions. The composer was living in San Antonio at the time and establishing himself as a prominent performer and composer. The sonata was first performed on December 10, 1983 at the Institute, San Antonio, Texas by violinist Andrew Erlich and the composer.

Robert Avalon performed this work often in concerts, and in program notes about the piece, reflected the significance of the sonata: "[T]he violin sonata was inspired in part by the feelings I had while contemplating a collection of drawings and paintings by the artist and political refugee Hermann Lungkwitz, who lived and worked in the hill country just northwest of San Antonio from 1851-1891 [...] A recurrent theme in Lungkwitz' art, cypress tree roots wrestling with themselves, caught my attention early, as I too was wrestling with myself over who I was, where I had come from, and where I was going. I felt connected to Texas, especially San Antonio, where I was born. But I felt no sense of connection to any of its musical organizations. I had long before decided that I wasn't interested in teaching institutionally and valued my ability to do what I wanted to do, when and where I wanted to do it.

Download the complete score of the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 6. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form

Robert Avalon and quartet friends at the piano, in a home

Robert Avalon and friends at the piano in a home in San Antonio, Texas (ca. mid-1980s).

Piano Sextet for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 14 (1987)

About this work:

The Piano Sextet for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 14 is a work that was commissioned by the Texas Music Teachers Association. Robert Avalon was the recipient of the first TMTA "Composer of the Year Award." The performance featured here is by the Nguyen Ensemble at the TMTA State Convention, Lubbuck Texas (June, 1987).

Download the complete score of the Piano Sextet for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 14. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 22 (1988)

 

About this work:

Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 22 was composed in 1988 for a commission from the Pablo Casals Museum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was conducting a chamber music series. lt was first performed by cellist Gayane Manasjan, with the composer at the piano.

Download the complete score of the Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 22. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form.   

 

Robert Avalon playing piano at a home concert

Robert Avalon playing piano at a home concert in San Antonio, Texas (ca. late 1980s)

Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Op. 22 (1990)

About this work:

Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Op. 22, was commissioned by the City Stages, Birmingham, Alabama. This performance features Dallas violinist Ronald Neal, cellist Gayane Manasjan, and the composer at the piano. 

Program notes on this particular piece is a wonderful example of the Avalon's humor: "This is a composition that I wrote when I first arrived in Houston. I had been commissioned by a festival called the City Stages of Birmingham, Alabama - they have a festival every year that draws about 60,000 people. One of the parts of that festival is a series of chamber music concerts, and they call it "the asylum", because the musicians who are not out on stages playing crazy and ripping their clothes off and throwing beer bottles around outside, which is what the rest of them do - those in the asylum were those of us playing chamber music quietly. And this was one of the pieces on that series, which I performed first with Ronald Neal, who is the concertmaster of the Dallas Charnber Orchestra, and Gayane Manasjan. It was a piece that we had practiced very rapidly - as happens frequently with composers, we don't always finish our pieces way before the concert day. I remember that we had several rehearsals that were frantically thrown together in Dallas, and we were very surprised - it tumed out very well..."

Download the complete score of the Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, Op. 22. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form

Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 26 (1991)

About this work:

Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 26, was commissioned by Megan Meisenbach. It was first performed at Houston Community College, Houston, Texas, on May 19, 1991. 

About the piece, Avalon wrote: "Although I attach no text to this purely instrumental work, at the time of its composition,I was reading poetry by the important Texas poet Vassar Miller (1924-1998), whose words I was setting to music in a nonet with soprano. If there were words to the second movement of my flute sonata, they might correspond to the Vassar Miller words in the second movement of my nonet: "As though I held a lover hard inside me/ I keep the darkness locked behind my lashes/To seed my flesh with sleep, my head with dreams,/Pulsing to melody within my blood". The work is dedicated to Houston philanthropist Louisa Stude Sarofim, who generously underwrote that concert."

Download the complete score of the Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 26. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form

Canzona for Cello and Piano (1983)

Canzona for Cello and Piano (1983)

About this work:

Canzona for Cello and Piano, 1983 may be the earliest chamber work written by Robert Avalon. The video recording feature cellist Mark Volklov and the composer Robert Avalon at the piano.

It is interesting to note that Canzona was never assigned an opus number by the composer, nor was the piece ever listed by the composer in his catalog of works. Nevertheless, the composition is a beautiful, early example of the composer's penchant for sonorous melodies. 

Download the complete score. For parts, please contact the Woodson Research Center by completing this request form.