Sonata for Bassoon and Piano

  • Genre
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Catherine Marchese
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
  • Timing
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    known performances
  • General notes

Sonata for Bassoon and Piano

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The Sonata for Bassoon and Piano was written at the request of bassoonist David Rachor, at the time a member of the faculty of the music department of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee. With pianist Joy Rachor, he premiered the work there on November 17, 1987. Upon hearing this performance, I felt dissastified with what I'd written in a few sections in each movement, and consequently rewrote them. The revised version was presented at a festival of my music given at the University of Central Oklahoma in February of 2001. In 2004, Catherine Marchese joined the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra as its principal bassoonist, and upon hearing her, I decided to dedicate this sonata to her. To personalize the work for her, I further revised several sections and added a virtuosic middle portion to the second movement. Thus, attempted to balance in the work virtuosity and opportunities for lyricism to suitably display the considerable talents of the dedicatee. There are three movements, the first of which is a vigorous movement with tonally-wandering sections interposed with more tonally-focused lyrical sections where the soloist carries long, flowing lines. These give way to a fughetta section that is developed briefly, and is subsequently quoted in the final movement. The movement ends quietly, with only a brief pause leading into the second movement. The calm and introspective middle movement is marked Andante cantando, and indeed there is much opportunity for the bassoonist to "sing" in all of its registers. Harmonies are lush throughout. The calm demeanor of the outer sections is interrupted by a virtuosic middle section in which both bassoonist and pianist are presented with cascades of 32nd notes. After a brief cadenza, this movement also ends quietly. The third movement, marked Vivace volante, is indeed a whirlwind in 3/8 meter, with sections of flowing 16th notes contrasted with syncopated interchanges between bassoon and piano. The pace of this movement never lets up, driving home to its conclusion with a vigorous flourish in the two instruments.

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