Sonata Forty
David Sampson (1992)

Sonata Forty, for horn and piano, was commissioned by Scott Brubaker and the International Horn Society. Completed on February 2, 1992, the title and composition were inspired by my fortieth birthday. This birthday along with my twenty-first and thirtieth, was a transitional one. As it approached, I found myself becoming increasingly agitated with thoughts of dreams unfulfilled, countless failures, missed opportunities and questions concerning what direction my life should take now. Even though I had read that this “taking stock” period was very common around this age, it surprised me that the emotions were so powerfully disturbing. I spent a great deal of effort sorting through basic questions of time, vulnerability and choices.

When I began writing this horn sonata for Scott, this working out process flowed directly into the composition and presented me with a natural form. The movements portray the progression from crisis to inner doubts and shadows to the cherished memories and finally to a resolution of building on the past and moving on. Coincidently, I found out later that Scott also celebrated his fortieth birthday around the time I was writing this work. It makes the title and subject matter seem even more appropriate.

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