The piccolo sonata was written at the request of Ilonka Kolthof, who is the founder of the Dutch Piccolo Project. It encourages composers to write new work for the piccolo, with or without other instruments, in order to elevate it into the ranks of ‘normal’ instruments, which do have a repertoire to fall back on. Just as in Vivaldi’s time it was common practise to feature the soprano recorder in an important role as a solo instrument, so it should be possible to come up with interesting music for an instrument that otherwise features predominantly as the silver lining of a symphony orchestra.

This was not an easy task as the combination of piccolo and piano is unusual, to say the least. But since the unusual can often lead to interesting new approaches, I was happy to commit to the challenge of marrying the two into a dynamic partnership. Especially since I knew that Ilonka would premier the sonata with Ralph van Raat at the piano the music started flowing naturally.

That I decided to choose the format of a sonata may surprise. I like to see my development as a process of ‘maturing’, but falling back on tradition with such blatant zeal may sound more like capitulation. My oeuvre from the 1960s onward covers an eclectic range of styles, but a trend towards adopting more and more of my musical heritage cannot be denied. The avant-garde of the 60s and 70s was a maelstrom that was difficult not to be caught up in and the pressure to conform, to be innovative if not provocative, was enormous. Without regretting any of it and having learned vital answers to the question what turns sound into musicon the way, I managed to acquire the freedom to uncover and dip into all that had remained dormant in my musical baggage. My love and respect for the great composers of the past has given an impetus to my creativity that would have been impossible without disentangling from the judgement of my peers and from academic expectations.

There are four movements with an approximate duration of:

I – more or less in sonata form

II – slow movement

III – scherzo

IV – roughly in rondo format

9 minutes including repeat




Total duration: approximately 25 minutes.

The work was made possible with the financial support of the Fonds Podiumkunsten (Performing Arts Fund NL).