ASSIGNMENT 5, Uncategorized

Sonatina Rondo on the Flying Dutchman

This three-minute piece for oboe and keyboard was written to satisfy the requirement for Assignment 5 of Module 1 of the OCA Music Composition module 1.

The requirement was to use at least three times a cycle of chords involving chords I, II,IV or VI, V and then I or use of a deceptive cadence.  With this quite conventional brief I have stuck to a diatonic idiom initially in ‘baroque’ style with use of a few passing chromatic notes, and then a more romantic figuration in the central section.

I have left in the score some of the harmonic workings.  Essentially, the main theme, starting in Bb major, fits the required template but then modulates to the relative G minor, and then via mode mixture a perfect cadence into C major, where the main ‘rondo’ theme repeats.  This modulation, upwards by a tone over ten bars, provides a key to structure: the sonatina form  has a recapitulation at bar 73 which needed to start in Ab major, modulating back to Bb at the close.  This means there are four statements overall of the ‘rondo’ each in a different key.

Bars 21 and 22 provide some variation of the rondo with the first explicit statement, in E major, of a theme from Wagner’s ‘Flying Dutchman’.

As this is a sonatina not a sonata allegro, the Development section is unconventional providing contrast within an overall AABBAA form.  Linking exposition and recapitulation requires continuing modulation up through the cycle of keys during the development.

By bars 30/31 we are in F# major and after augmentation in bars 32-24 of part of the rondo theme, we enter a contrasting middle passage.  This keeps the same tempo in terms of bar duration but introduces a gentler compound time movement, six crotchets to the bar with enharmonic change to Gb then Cb major for statements of Senta’s ‘redemption’ theme from Flying Dutchman.

I have provided my own harmonisations around this and explored the possibilities of piano figuration in the solo passage bars 52-64.  Bars 65-72 mark a transition with more ominous trills and a reveille’ distant ‘posthorn’ sound from the oboe, announcing first the main Dutchman theme and then linking back to my own Rondo theme, ending confidently and then with a throw-away chromatic C sharp in the final cadence, hinting at the possibility of D minor.

This is the first time I have written for piano and the score provides some possible execution but the piece could be played in many different ways.  The full range of the modern oboe is used with an optional ossia and octave down for the highest passage.

Audio file generated by Sibelius


Oboe part:

Flying dutchman oboe sonata complete – Oboe


Score and piano part:

Flying dutchman oboe sonata complete – Full Score