Oboe Sonata

by Anthony Ritchie, for oboe and piano, Opus 70b

In 3 contrasting movements, this piece contains a mixture of lively, bright ideas and more soulful ones. It was recorded in Paris onto a CD Diversions:Autour du hautbois, featuring Marika Lombardi, oboe, and Debra Takakjian, piano.

Programme Note

This sonata started life as a concerto for soprano saxophone, and was commissioned by New Zealander Mark Hobson with financial assistance from the Arts Council of New Zealand. Ritchie transcribed the work for oboe and piano in 2002, but the sonata had to wait until March 2010 for its premiere. It is in one continuous movement, divided into three main sections.

The first section has a cartoon-like character: it is cheeky, changeable and light in spirit, but has darker elements as well. The fast tempo eventually fades into a slow, lyrical section that features a soulful melody on oboe over slowly shifting harmonies. Here the mood is sorrowful and reflective. The third section opens with bold chords on the piano, before a wistful theme appears on oboe, in waltz time. The tempo accelerates and the music becomes agitated and driven. The waltz theme is integrated into this faster tempo leading to a cadenza-like passage towards the end, over a percussive piano rhythm. The sonata ends with a fragment of the oboe waltz theme, underpinned by strong piano chords.