Oboe Sonata (Saint-Saëns)
This sonata is the first of the three sonatas that Saint-Saëns composed for wind instruments, the other two being the Clarinet Sonata (Op. 167) and the Bassoon Sonata (Op. 168), written the same year.
The piece is dedicated to Louis Bas, first solo oboe with the Societé du Conservatoire de l'Opéra.
It is written in three movements:
The movements are not ordered according to the traditional fast-slow-fast sonata system. The tempo of the movements increases successively.
The first movement, Andantino, is music of a pastoral kind, in ternary form ABA. The opening theme of the oboe solo is an echo of the Westminster Quarters.
The core of the second movement is a Romance, marked Allegretto. It is preceded by an introduction and followed by an epilogue. The introduction and epilogue are marked ad libitum - that is, the performer is free to choose the tempo considered most appropriate.
The last movement, titled Molto Allegro, short and brilliant, has passages of great difficulty and virtuosity.