Craig A. Penfield (b. 1948) — Madrigal Sonata No. 23 (2012) for organ
(in three movements)
Craig A. Penfield was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 29, 1948. There
were many musicians on both sides of his family, and at a very early age Penfield began composing music and performing as a violinist, pianist, and organist. His primary studies began with Gordon W. Stearns, Sr. of West Hartford and eventually culminated with post-graduate study at Trinity College with Clarence E. Watters. (Watters himself had been the first American student of Marcel Dupré.) As a composer, Penfield has published hundreds of compositions, including many works for organ, as well as works for other solo instruments, orchestra, and chorus. For many years, Penfield was active as an organist/choir director and concert recitalist in New England as well as on the West Coast. His works have been performed throughout the world, most frequently in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the USA.
The 24 madrigal sonatas are short three-movement works inspired by the Renaissance and early baroque, viewed through a contemporary lens. The 23rd sonata involves more contemporary elements, particularly in the third movement: a hypnotic ceremonial dance. Unlike the other sonatas, the structure of the piece is driven almost entirely by rhythm, rather than melodic or harmonic elements.
The sonatas are published as a collection by Zimbel Press: