The Oboe Sonata op. 166 was the first of three wind sonatas that Saint-Saëns wrote in his final year. Throughout his life he had been more familiar with keyboard and stringed instruments, so the composer this time found himself in rather unfamiliar territory. Yet he instantly hit upon the inflections and special characteristics of these instruments. To ensure that the parts reflected the technical and tonal idiosyncrasies of each instrument, he asked advice of wind soloists of his acquaintance before publication. His Sonata op. 166 met with the highest approval of the oboist; a passage in a letter bears witness to this: “It went like clockwork.” Henle was able to consult the autograph for the first time for this Urtext edition.
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