Sonata in G Major (Opus 168) for Bassoon and Piano

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Uploaded on Apr 28, 2012

In the last year of his life, at the age of 85, Camille Saint-Saëns was still active as a composer and conductor, traveling between Algiers and Paris. Besides a final piano album leaf, his last completed works were three sonatas, one each for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. He sensed that he did not have much time left; he wrote to a friend, "I am using my last energies to add to the repertoire for these otherwise neglected instruments." He intended to write sonatas for another three wind instruments, but was never able to. Saint-Saëns began the pieces early in the year while in Algeria and completed them in April in Paris. He was not alone in wanting to write for these instruments. English composers, such as Holst and Bax, and other French composers, such as Honegger and Milhaud, were also starting to expand the literature for woodwind instruments around the same time. In fact, Saint-Saëns' sonatas have pastoral and humorous moments that are similar to those others' works, relying on simpler melodies and textures than are found even his earlier chamber works, yet retaining Classical forms for their structure. Although all three sonatas were published before Saint-Saëns' death, they were not premiered until later. The Bassoon Sonata, Op. 168, was dedicated to Saint-Saëns' friend, August Périer, a bassoon professor at the Paris Conservatoire. The opening Allegro moderato is liltingly charming as it drifts between major and minor, building to a not too dramatic climax in its development section. The second movement, Allegro scherzando, begins in minor mode, but it, too, changes frequently between major and minor during its lighthearted jaunt. The final movement is in two parts, Molto adagio and Allegro moderato. The Adagio, the longest section of the entire sonata at over five minutes, features a florid melody over a simple, essentially chordal accompaniment. It leads to the cadenza-like, minute-long final Allegro.

This Bassoon Sonata in G major, Op. 168 was composed in 1921, the year of his death and is the first of the three sonatas that Saint-Saëns composed for wind instruments, the other two being the Oboe Sonata (Op. 166) and the Clarinet Sonata (Op. 167), written the same year. The piece is dedicated to Clément-Léon Letellier (b. 1859) , lead bassoonist with the Societé du Conservatoire de l'Opéra.

Romantic Woodwind

Pages 22
Duration 12:23
Measures 321
Key signature 1 sharp
Parts 2
Part names Bassoon, Piano
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License None (All rights reserved)
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