Sonata (2014)

Bassoon and Piano

Total duration ca. 9' 

Single-movement work


Premiered in January 2015

in Baltimore, MD

by Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun

Listen to a recording of this work on Soundcloud

Audio clip performed by Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun

Purchase this score and part from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15.00

This Sonata was composed as part of an interdepartmental collaboration at the Peabody Institute in the fall of 2014. A work conceived to be performed either with bassoon or violoncello and piano, this Sonata explores extremes in emotional, and registral, territory in two movements. From catty, sarcastic repartees and high anxiety in the first movement, to the tragedy and introspective melancholy of the second, the work’s tenor came from a desire to compose a piece that explored emotional boundaries that I felt were underrepresented in the bassoon’s solo repertoire. The Sonata’s emotional geography also draws from my close contact with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, Op. 147, which I performed in the role of accompanist in 2011; work on this piece brought back not only the difficult territory of the Viola Sonata itself but some of my own terror at the time as I grappled with a piece on the edge of my proficiency as a performer. Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun premiered the bassoon version in the spring of 2015 at the Peabody Institute. Mayte García Atienza and Carlos Amat of NOMOS presented the world premiere of the version with violoncello at the VIPA Festival in Valencia, Spain in the summer of 2015.