Celebrating 40 years! 1983-2023

Click image above to zoom

Click any image above to view larger

Sonata (1981) - BSN/PN

Composer: Steinmetz, John

Publisher: TrevCo

Edition: 1506 - 35879


Sonata (1981)
for bassoon and piano
by John Steinmetz (b.1951) American composer, bassoonist, writer, satirist, speaker
I. Prelude
II. Browning
III. Lament
This Sonata is not in traditional sonata form. Like very early sonatas, it is music "to be sounded", music for invoking different emotional states. The first movement portrays the bassoon as a strong-voiced instrument exploring powerful feelings. The second movements is based on an English tune called "Browning" (or "The Leaves Be Green"). Several English Renaissance composers made consort settings of this tune; I was inspired by (and stole ideas from) the Browning for three viols by Elway Bevin, in which the 8-bar theme constantly repeats, moving to a different instrument each time. This version has four voices, with three played by the pianist. The Lament that ends this Sonata grew from some piano chords that captivated me. I sat at the piano for hours tinkering with them. I began the Prelude and the Lament with similar chords, but only much later did I realize that the "Browning" melody begins with the very same notes- even in other people's version. Some of the best things in music happen in ways that remain mysterious (during the piece's gestation a songbook caught my attention in a music library and fell open to "Browning"), and that's a just a way of saying that I understand only some of what went into this music. For the rest I am grateful. 
John Steinmetz- Altadena, CA 2004