The composer has provided the following note:
I had never written a solo concert piece for a low-ranged instrument, but when the Philharmonic's principal bassoon David Breidenthal asked me to compose a chamber work for him, I decided to take up the challenge. The Sonata for Bassoon and Piano is the result. In approaching the project, I determined that, rather than write a showpiece for bassoon with subdued accompaniment, I would create an instrumental texture that was duet-like in nature. Therefore the piano part is very actively involved in the progression of the materials of the piece. This does not, however, detract from the virtuosic character of the bassoon, which remains the focal point. In addition to exploiting the wind's technical capacity, I sought also to emphasize its lyrical qualities. Formally, the Sonata is written in two movements; the first a straightforward sonata-allegro, and the second a binary form with a coda that draws material from the first section.