Sonata para los Separados
for cello and piano
This sonata was composed for cellist Phuc Phan and pianist Hsin-Chiao Liao. The video is from their premiere performance, in April 2019.
The music of this sonata is an attempt to bear witness to the tragedy of the U.S. Government’s actions on our Southern border during the summer of 2018, when border officials forcibly separated refugee children from their parents. Families are still being separated today.
The cello and the piano play dramatic roles – the cello is the parent, the piano is the child (at times the piano also represents external forces).
The story unfolds in six scenes: after an initial dialogue, joyful and playful, the parent sings a lullaby; the child joins in. The lullaby is interrupted by the approach of inexorable, hostile forces; parent and child cling to each other, call out to each other, but are forced apart. Each is heard alone: first the child, weeping, pleading, then subsiding into a blank, desolate, lostness. Then the parent is heard alone: at first vehemently angry, then losing heart, then regaining strength as a reunion becomes possible. The two are reunited; the parent reaches out to the child, recalling their earlier music, but the child remains impassive, blank, expressionless. The trust has been broken.
Score available for purchase
(Please contact the composer for cello part)