Sonata for Oboe and Piano (2015)
duration: 21’
GRT • 180


score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
I. our home planet
II. the human imperative for exploration
III. the outer reaches of the universe

Sonata for Oboe and Piano is the 6th in a series of Sonatas that started in 2000 with the Sonata for Violin and Piano, written for my wife Marianne Rothschild. But the connections date even further back to 1984 when I played the Poulenc Sonata for Oboe and Piano (1962) with my mother, Betty Scarlett, accompanying me on piano for my year 12 oboe exam in Melba Hall in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music building, where I have subsequently studied and worked for most of my adult life.

While this sonata in 3 movements was written largely as ‘abstract’ music (as far as such a thing exists), it increasingly formed in my mind as a journey from the familiar to the unknown. And as I often write about planet Earth and the larger context of the universe, this distilled to a journey from our home planet, via the human imperative for exploration, to the outer reaches of the universe.

This Sonata is written for Celia Craig, a former principal with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and current Principal Oboe with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Our paths crossed at the AYO National Music Camp in January 2015, where I heard her wonderful playing in the Britten
Phantasy Quartet. Celia suggested working with David Barnard and hearing the two of them play the new work together in rehearsal in July 2016 (Tallis Wing, University of Melbourne) was a sublime, memorable experience.

“The Sonata for Oboe and Piano by Stuart Greenbaum, written for Celia Craig in 2015, included evocative melodies which were well suited to the rich tone for which she is well known.”
Anne Tonkin, Reeding Matter (Granada Special Issue), September 2018

“Jasper Ly’s curation of this recital was deeply personal, with each piece’s introduction featuring stories of meetings and blossoming friendships, as well as noting a particularly special lineage: Oscar Jenkins-Wing was introduced to the oboe player through his teacher, Ade Vincent, who in turn was taught by Stuart Greenbaum, whose Sonata for Oboe and Piano was the standout work of the program. Greenbaum’s sonata was abstract, yet cinematic, borrowing as he often does from a combination of Western art music traditions and pop and jazz ideas. The work has all the elements to become an oft-performed part of the oboe repertoire.”
Megan Steller, Limelight, May 2022