A comparative analysis of Paul Hindemith's Sonata for bassoon (1938) and Sonata for tuba (1955)
Wildman, Simon Randolph
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Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Bassoon (1938) and Sonata for Tuba (1955) are two striking examples from the composer’s collection of sonatas for orchestral instruments. The bassoon sonata is generally considered to be characteristic of the compositional framework Hindemith wrote about in his treatise The Craft of Musical Composition. The tuba sonata is commonly cited as one of the few works in which Hindemith experimented with twelve-tone themes. Both of these perspectives are valid, but neither describes the full complexity and beauty of the music. Since both these sonatas are standard as solo repertoire, tubists and bassoonists could benefit from an in-depth study of Hindemith’s style. This paper analyzes the tuba sonata alongside the bassoon sonata, synthesizing observations from each work to form a broad understanding of Hindemith’s style. The contrasts and similarities of the sonatas are highlighted throughout the analysis. The paper also includes a script from the lecture that accompanied a public performance of these sonatas.