for oboe & piano. May optionally be performed for oboe solo.
Sometime during my sophomore year of high school, I ran across the claim that an early version of the oboe first appeared in Ancient Egypt. This was in a handbook introducing orchestral instruments, and whatever the accuracy of the statement, it stuck around with me ever since, for so many years, in fact, that when I decided to write an oboe sonata, I referenced it in the second movement, which is dedicated in memory of the Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh, a phenomenal artist and a dear friend of my family.
That it is of such a unique character is not out of place in this sonata. From the beginning I envisioned it as a collection of four highly varied, downright disparate, episodes. The differences between them leave spaces for the imagination, and if there is a binding factor to the whole work, it is a colorful and vivid tone — occasionally bordering on the spastic.
Ironically, perhaps the most unpredictable thing about it is the nod to the Romantic convention of cyclicism in m. 65 of the fourth movement (piano version). And while the whole undertaking may be a trip through various time periods, styles, and modes of pacing, I do feel that there exists a linear progression over the course of the four movements from the concrete to the abstract.
As a surprise, as archaic as the folklike tune opening the finale may sound, the music prior to it may be even more so. The Prelude suggests a cyclic nature to time itself — or at least has one hoot of a time trying to break chronology and the level-headed approach to existence.
I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed writing it, or — if you are a misfortunate member of the audience — then that you find it agreeable to have a listen!
P.S. Not that this makes any difference to anyone, but in keeping with the miscellaneous momentum of the music, I am providing Polish translations to the movement titles:
- I. Bez czarny
- II. Pogłosy starożytnego Egiptu
- III. Strofy
- IV. Preludium