Sonata for Oboe and Guitar (1999)
“The beauty of the guitar lies in its soft, persuasive voice,” Segovia once remarked. “Its poetry cannot be equaled.” While I have written a number of works for the oboe, this Sonata is the most intimate and direct, and I have to admit: the guitar made me do it. Consonant chords come easily under the hand. Quiet voices may be clearly heard in its six-stringed company. The oboe, whose virtuosity is its lyricism, is free to sing. Merilee Klemp had initially approached me about writing a folk-inspired piece, but the pentatonic material in this Sonata quotes no particular tune; it springs from the nature of the instruments themselves.
Most of the themes proceed from the brief opening movement: a guitar flourish, a pentatonic trumpet tune, and an oboe scale falling over two octaves. There follows bluesy walking music, a gentle lullaby, and courtly dances, before the opening material returns in broader form, climbing an inverted scale into thinner air.