June Emerson Wind Music
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Printed Edition
Composer:Saint-Saens, Camille (1835-1921)
Instrumentation:bn. pft.
Publisher Ref:EP9195
This is one of three wind sonatas which Saint-Saens wrote in the last year of his life but his style is very much of the early twentieth century - not what might have been expected from a composer in his mid eighties.

Price: £14.95
Skill Level:E
Publisher:Peters Edition
Year of Issue:1971
ISBN:none specified
"At the moment I am putting my last ounce of energy into giving seldom considered instruments an opportunity to be heard", Saint-Saëns wrote to a friend on 15th April of the year he died. A sonata for oboe, one for clarinet and one for bassoon were thus composed yet he was not to hear them performed. As far as form and inflection are concerned, the three wind sonatas op. 166, 167 and 168 hark back to the 'gallant' style of the 18th century in that not a single movement follows traditional sonata form and the works are not conceived as an organically developed whole, but as a collection of characteristic pieces, similar to a suite. But the contemporary harmony, wit and irony of these late works by Saint-Saens are in keeping with the neo-classicism of the younger composers of the 1920's and contradict the clichéd view of an ageing, out-of-touch composer.

the bassoon sonata is the last of the compositions for wind from 1921, the year of Saint-Saens' death, and he did not have a chance to write the sonata for cor anglais he had planned. The humorous, technically not very demanding work hardly shows that the composer was not particularly well acquainted with the instrument. In a letter he admitted to his publisher that he had preferred to check an 'instruction manual' to confirm the range of the bassoon at a high passage. However, trial runs with the subsequent dedicatee Leon Letellier went extremely well for both parties.

  • Allegro scherzando
  • Molto adagio

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