Camille Saint-Saens’ Sonata for the Bassoon

In romantic period this sonata has a very important place in the bassoon repertory. In the last year of his life, when he was 85 years old, he composed the sonata in 1921. It is dedicated to Saint-Saens’ friend August Périer who was a bassoon professor at the Paris Conservatoire. If I talk about the sonata, it has 3 different movements but the 3rd movement separates into 2 different movements. “The opening movement Allegro Moderato is liltingly charming as it drifts between major and minor, building to a not too dramatic climax in its development section.” Its theme gives the audience peace with silence. According to me, the first movement smells like perfume because perfume has not rhythm and tempo. It is not concrete, it is intangible: So, it should be played without prominent rhythmic patterns. In addition to this, when the player plays this sonata, s/he thinks about that somebody walking on water. Players have to sustain breath and should not interrupt musical phrases. The second movement is Allegro Scherzando. “It changes frequently between major and minor during its lighthearted jaunt.” This movement should all in all be energetic, clear and have understandable articulation. At the beginning of the theme, it should be played more articulated and the audience should understand the rhythmic pattern clearly. “The final movement is in two parts, Molto Adagio and Allegro Moderato. The Adagio, the longest section of the entire sonata [with] over five minutes, features a florid melody over a simple, essentially chordal accompaniment. It leads to the cadenza-like, minute-long final Allegro.


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