This sonata was especially written
for Amy Porter.
Inspired by three 19th century
American ghost story writers: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Washington Irving.
Flute Sonata #8 is a musical revue of three popular classic ghost stories depicting three diverse impressions of the ironic and macabre. Christopher Caliendo's musical journey thrills audiences and keeps them riveted. For the flutist and pianist it is a challenging work and warrants intense collaboration. The Ghost Sonata is an ample addition to any professional recital.
- Amy Porter
View Amy Porter's performance of Flute Sonata No. 8!
One of the greatest short stories ever
written, its success lies in the almost perfect balance between the
horror of the situation and the ironic humor with which Poe invests it.
The entire movement depicts the opening scene as Montressor
encounters Fortunato "one evening in the supreme madness of carnival".
Carnival is the period (of which Mardi Gras is the last day) just
before Lent. Fortunato is dressed in a multicolored garment worn by
jesters and fools, here apparently a costume for the carnival. This one
sentence, extracted from the story, jettisoned the entire purpose of
this movement's music: to capture not only the incidental aspect of the
scene, but augur the irony and horror of the story to unfold.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
Published in 1837, this allegorical tale finds
Dr. Heidegger experimenting on four of his friends by offering them
water from the fountain of youth which gives them the ability to grow
young again. All four, who have led wasteful lives, vow never to repeat
the mistakes of their youth. Still, as soon as they grow young again,
the four friends return to their wasteful practices. The theme Hawthorne
establishes asserts that although humans may greatly believe in and
desire complete perfection, the quest is futile.
In 1963's Twice Told Tales, a three-part horror story, featured Dr.
Heigegger's Experiment starring Vincent Price and Sebastian Cabot.
While listening to the film score, I was taken by a solitary musical
theme originally composed by the American composer/pianist, Les Baxter. I
ran into my studio and experimented with the idea which soon provided
the music's intention in relation to Hawthorne's story: to slowly build
the eerie and pervasive horror of the inevitable fate of Hawthorne's
characters in full accordance with Hawthorne's deep meaning and moral
Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
A sycophantic, lean, lanky, superstitious
schoolmaster competes with the town bully Brom Bones for the hand of
Katrina van Tassel is the basis of Irving's classic ghost story. On an
autumn night, Ichabod Crane leaves a party and is soon pursued by the
headless horseman who is supposed to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper
who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during the American
The music immediately involves a supernatural wild
chase. The unexpected quiet ending coincides with the nature of the
Headless Horseman, the ending of which is open to interpretation as to
who he was. The story implies that the Horseman was really Brom Bones in