composition

Sonata

for Oboe and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Valarie Anderson
  • Year completed
    2013
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    16:00
  • Catalog number
    235
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The Sonata for Oboe and Piano, another work in my continuing series of sonatas for every major instrument, was written in about 10 days during the period from April 27th to May 15th of 2013. Written especially for Valarie Anderson, who is not only a brilliant performer on the oboe, but also a gifted graphic designer, the work exhibits many of my traits, especially my predilection for synthesizing various styles of writing in a single work. The 13-minute work is cast in four relatively brief movements. The opening movement showcases the oboe's most haunting quality in its opening unaccompanied monolog. This opening sololiquy might best be described as non-tonal, rather than atonal, since it emphasizes certain tones, without any concomitant emphasis of a key center. When the piano enters, the non-tonal style continues, but with occasional divagations into tonal centers. The movement ends with a near reiteration of the opening material. The second movement is a kind of grotesque march, where tonal centers go in and out of focus during the course of the movement. An interesting feature of this sonata comes in the third movement, a slow movement, wherein the opening material from the beginning monolog is reiterated note for note, changing only rhythms and enharmonic spellings. Underneath, the piano is now given a part that firmly fixes tonal centers with rather lush romantic harmonies, which nevertheless shift around a good bit. The work closes with a very energetic and syncopated finale, which is characterized by a synthesis of tonal, atonal, and jazz-influenced sonorities, as well as contemporary devices such as pitch bends and tone clusters. Once again, material from the opening oboe solo is cast in yet another setting towards the end of the movement.

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