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Sonata in F minor for Flute and Oboe


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I wrote most of this about four years ago but just today I went back to it and finished it up.  I don't think it's terribly good, but I'd be interested to hear what people think works and what doesn't if anyone is kind enough to listen.  Thanks!

 

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1st movement:  I like how you manage to alternate between canonic imitation and playing in harmony.  It really works well for this style of writing although I wish you would have included a bassoon sometimes.  I noticed in the very beginning that you somehow manage to organize your melodic material into two 11 measure phrases and it doesn't sound imbalanced at all!  The first phrase is two 4 measure parts followed by a 2 measure coda that ends on a final note that takes up 1 measure = 11.  And the second phrase has the same structure with different material - kinda neat!  The cadential points throughout this are very well placed and all the phrases sound balanced and consist of interesting contrapuntal interplay.

2nd movement:  You go from canonic imitation in the first movement to what seems to be a pretty strict canon in this one.  Despite some lack of rhythmic variety this is a pretty well put together little piece!  Usually I don't like slow movements but this has a nice relaxing/hypnotic feel to it.

3rd movement:  With it's seemingly free chromaticism and copious use of various diminished chords this one is definitely my favorite!  My favorite part is meas. 72 - 76.  I'm not quite sure if I can label that Db7 chord as a German 6th chord as there isn't enough voices to make the proper bass movement but nonetheless - that was pretty cool!

I think you seem to be pretty good at writing in a Baroque style!  I am looking forward to more (and do you have any fugues?).  Great job!

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I think this is just lovely! I love the interplay between the two voices, and the rhythmic variation you use throughout. The voices sound alive, like they are dancing around eachother. Very harmonious. I think this would be lovely performed for an intimate gathering or house concert.

Movements 1 and 3 especially speak to me. They sound very free and expressive. I like how you use the canon, but it isn't necessarily obvious in every moment. You use the form as a platform on which you create art. Your harmony in movement 3 is lot of fun! It's got a mysterious quality to it, minor but not too dark. Great vibe. Bravo.

Movement 2 the canon is more obvious, which can actually be a bit of a distraction. I love pieces where the form is there throughout, but it has many other elements baked in so that the form itself isn't a distraction, but instead a foundation. Movement 1 and 3 accomplish that feat well.

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Thank you all for your comments!  I'm glad that you enjoyed the piece.  I'm especially glad that PaperComposer mentioned mm. 72-76 in the third movement, since this was a bit that I was especially hesitant about and wasn't sure it would work.

18 hours ago, PaperComposer said:

 I am looking forward to more (and do you have any fugues?).

 

I haven't written any strict fugues for a long time, though I use fugal passages sometimes.  I am working on some more flute/oboe duets in this style, though.

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Your flute and oboe duet sounds great. I've used woodwind duos before too, but usually of these types:

  • Flute + Bassoon -> Sometimes if I'm trying to evoke a pastoral scene in a chamber ensemble, I will use the combination of the mellow tone of the flute and the warmth of the bassoon
  • Flute + Clarinet -> These 2 are most similar in dynamic terms, although a clarinet can get up to forte in the low register, which the flute can't(I've heard from several sources that the loudest possible dynamic for the low register which goes up to A4, is mezzo-forte and that if there is forte written down there, it's understood to be a relative dynamic and not an absolute dynamic), but both can acheive an extremely mellow triple p dynamic down there
  • Oboe + Bassoon -> Sometimes if there is a piece that involves all 4 woodwind families, I will have 1 movement for double reeds exclusively

I've never really combined flute with oboe in a duo because I would always be in a state of:

Quote

Is the oboe going to overpower the flute?

Because I know that the dynamic tendencies of the 2 instruments in the low register are exact opposites, flute tends to be quiet to the point that too aggressive string playing, not to mention oboe presence can overpower the mellow flute(in fact, I often see orchestral density go down to 0 woodwind accompaniment(or maybe a quiet clarinet or bassoon at most) and pianissimo strings when the flute goes into the low register in an orchestral piece) whereas the oboe is super loud in that same register, too loud to play a piano dynamic down there(not much of a problem with the English Horn, a lower pitched cousin of the oboe, at least until maybe the lowest few pitches(similar to Bassoon in that respect)).

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21 hours ago, caters said:

Because I know that the dynamic tendencies of the 2 instruments in the low register are exact opposites, flute tends to be quiet to the point that too aggressive string playing, not to mention oboe presence can overpower the mellow flute(in fact, I often see orchestral density go down to 0 woodwind accompaniment(or maybe a quiet clarinet or bassoon at most) and pianissimo strings when the flute goes into the low register in an orchestral piece) whereas the oboe is super loud in that same register, too loud to play a piano dynamic down there(not much of a problem with the English Horn, a lower pitched cousin of the oboe, at least until maybe the lowest few pitches(similar to Bassoon in that respect)).

 

I played flute for years and in an orchestral setting, yes, it's very easy for the low register on the flute to be covered up.  In a duet like this, though, I think that competent players can maintain balance between the instruments.  The low notes on the flute take longer to "speak" so they might not come through as well in fast passages, but unless the oboe and flute are both in their low registers at the same time, I think good players can make the balance work.

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