Sonata for Contrabassoon and Piano

Sonata for Contrabassoon and Piano


Click the links below to hear the movements.

1st movement
2nd movement
3rd movement
4th movement


Written in 2007, this sonata was inspired by playing alongside a series of amazing musicians; Nick Lander, Alex Moss, Luke Whitehead and Sarah Nixon, who made me realise it’s amazing potential as a solo instrument. Whilst the outer movements are jazz (even rock!) based, I decided on a simple folk tune like melody for the slow movement to show off the beautiful lyric voice of the contra, and a rhythmic dance form juxtaposing duplet and triplet rhythms for the ‘scherzo’. The first movement drives forward from the initial piano statement, taken up almost immediately by the rarely heard agility of the contra bassoon (think ‘wooden baritone sax’!). Interspersed with more lyrical moments, the energy continues right through to the final wildly chromatic few bars. The menacing opening of the final movement (mixing timbres of unison piano and contra bassoon notes) dissolves into a Rock like riff which takes elements of the first movement as its basis. The development of this takes us on a journey through ‘Cantina Band’ and scat before gently fading to a memory of the opening bars.

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