Review of “Sonata Judaica” and Sonata No. 1 for Piano in The Big City

The standout pieces on the program were two works by Donner….His Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Sonata Judaica for clarinet and piano performed the vital action of setting their own premises and then attacking them a little bit. The duo was energetic and good humored, incorporating the flavor of Jewish melodies into Modernist structures with just enough touches of popular culture and craziness to also try and break out of them. It offered…a very open-hearted and human approach to music making. The piano sonata, played by Donner, was an exciting, impressive work…tossing off interesting, jazzy and often intensely energetic phrases, abandoning them and bringing them back just at the moment one thinks he’s forgotten about them.  It seems random but is actually continuous. The material is dense but the writing is always clear, even in the inner voices.

from a review by George Grella in The Big City, March 10, 2010