Sonata for Oboe and Piano, 1938 Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
During his frantic last year in Germany before escaping with his family to Switzerland, Paul Hindemith wrote several important works, including his Oboe Sonata. Its first movement is quick and frisky, using overlapping 2-4 and 3-8 meters like the combined gaits of a little girl and her big brother hurrying hand in hand into an unknown forest. Like any a good Gothic story, its sunny beginning and end contrast with darkly threatening episodes. The harmony progresses in disorienting twists from unfamiliar to scary to downright weird. The second movement starts very slowly as a dreamy lullaby in slow 3-4 time, accompanied by a fantastically ornate accompaniment in eighth, sixteenth, thirty-second and sixty-fourth note subdivisions. The lullaby melody breaks into headlong flight as a lively 3-8 fugue, then pauses to hide, dreams, and resumes its running-away (fugue). The second escape winds through a cadence, long-winded enough to rival a Beethoven symphony, and leads us at last to safety.