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As one might expect, the piano part in this Sonata is substantial. But the same can also be said of the bassoon part—not particularly in terms of virtuoso writing but more in the exploration of the bassoon's expressive range. A cheerful mood prevails throughout most of the first movement which begins with a lively 6/8 melody on the bassoon, contrasted by a change to 2/4 time for the second subject, a lyrical theme shared by piano and bassoon. The second movement, a Ballade, takes us into very different waters: the cheerfulness of the first movement is almost entirely forgotten and, lyrical though the thematic material is, there is an underlying tension giving the music a strange and powerful character. The third movement, a waltz-like Allegretto, dispels this mood somewhat, but not entirely since the final movement opens with a fragment of the second movement's initial theme, this time on solo bassoon in the low register. Even when this dark introduction gives way to a sprightly Vivace, there are still traces of the second movement's thematic material, now transformed into a much brighter character than before. A final brief Animato, a brilliant flourish on the piano, and the work comes to a joyous conclusion.
from notes by Laurence Perkins © 1981