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Program Note


for oboe and bassoon

by Reginald Bain

A Mathematical Offering (2010) is a set of ten contrapuntal miniatures for oboe and bassoon. Written for oboist Rebecca Nagel and bassoonist Peter Kolkay, each movement is a musical manifestation of a musico-mathematical idea. The source of inspiration for each movement varies widely, but all of the movements were inspired by ideas from mathematical musical theory or themes from Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer-prize winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979). Two of the movements are musical analogues of lithographs by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher: Ascending and Descending (1960) and Waterfall (1961).

Nagel and Kolkay gave the world premiere at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC on January 28, 2011, and introduced the work at the International Double Reed Society conference in Tempe, AZ later that same year.

I. Minimal Perterbation 0:36
II. The Stepping Stone Analogy 1:21
III. Cube Dance 1:24
IV. Partitions 1:35
V. Strange Loops 1:00
VI. Waterfall 1:13
VII. Hyper-Hexatonic Blues 1:22
VIII. Splitting and Fusing 1:09
IX. Ascending and Descending 1:16
X. Ladder Canon 0:56
D U R A T I O N : 11:52


Rebecca Nagel, oboe
Peter Kolkay, bassoon

Cornelia Freeman Concert Series
September 18, 2011
University of South Carolina, School of Music, Recital Hall
Recording engineer: Jeff Francis

Updated: March 8, 2016