Movement 1: Vivace
Movement 2: Lento
Movement 3: Vivo assai
Movement 4: Allegro
The second movement is a very simple structure as befits its relatively brief span. The music forms an idyllic study, as if idly contemplating a rural scene in high summer, and is based upon one idea that leads to several related fragments of themes. The reverie is banished in the jaunty scherzo movement, rhythmically irregular and full of tricky writing for the bassoon (as well as for the strings!). It is the bassoon, however, which seems to be the ‘odd one out’ until at last it joins the strings—almost!—for the ebullient brief coda. In the finale, after a peremptory opening gesture from the strings, the bassoon takes control of the music and gradually restores its authority, until the final quip—which takes everyone by surprise.
from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1998