Joseph Natoli Commissioned by AAA for Two Works

Article published in Jan 2018 issue

Joseph Natoli has been commissioned in 2017 by the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) for two new compositions (a solo work in 2018 and an ensemble work in 2019). The solo work is already completed and entitled Sonata In F Major (in the Classical Style) which Joe will perform at the AAA Festival in July 2018.

Joe Natoli states: "When it comes to composition, I consider myself a musical chameleon, adapting to any style according to the need and purpose of the composition, just as a chameleon adapts immediately to its current environment. Therefore I have written music in every possible genre, from contemporary Avant Garde, to quasi-minimalist, jazz, Classical, Baroque, ethnic polkas & waltzes, cinematic, neo-Romantic, ragtime, Latin, and even Pop.

I enjoy performing and composing in all styles and especially enjoy dabbling in the styles of the old masters like Bach and Haydn. On a business trip about 10 years ago, I was bored in my hotel room late at night, so I decided to write a Baroque style invention on my computer (since I had no instrument available). It turned out to be a piece that I was very happy with. Shortly thereafter I wrote two more inventions in C and G. You can find a recording of the "Invention in F" at this YouTube link: or you can view the video embedded below."














I also had written for a student about 13 years ago a ‘Sonata in D Major (in the Classical style)’ which I completed in two weeks. The exceptional student then learned and memorized it in 5 weeks, and subsequently competed with it, winning first place at both the AAMS and AAA competitions in 2004. Since then, I have always wanted to get back to a Classical sonata composition that was more of a fully developed and executed sonata within a truly virtuoso Classical context.

I particularly love Haydn's piano sonatas. So this ‘Sonata In F Major’ has scratched that itch for me and is 20 pages and 12 minutes in length. It is the first time the accordion has had such a complete work written especially for the instrument in that stylistic genre. I thought this AAA commission would be a perfect opportunity for such a piece, since the AAA has had such a long historical association of accordionists performing Classical works of the masters.

It is my hope that this is the kind of piece that Haydn or Mozart might have written for the free bass or Stradella accordion if they had our quality instruments of today available to them. However, this Classical piece is written within the context of a composer with 21st century ears, who has the historical benefit of having heard all the music that came before it. So it takes some surprising harmonic and developmental twists and turns that demonstrate that perspective. Also, in the final movement (Presto), there is a short quote from the theme of the first movement, which is a technique that 18th century Classical composers might not have attempted. It seemed to fit so well however, that I could not resist the temptation. This is a difficult virtuoso sonata for both free bass and Stradella accordion that I am hoping the audience enjoys in July.

I want to thank the AAA for the commission and the piece will be published at the JANPress Music web site as soon as the web site completes some necessary updates and adjustments."

For further information:

Be sure to make your reservations for the AAA 80th Anniversary Festival in Alexandria, Virginia July 11-15, 2018.