Franz Strauss Nocturno with Band

If you play regularly in a band at the college, community, or high school level, or if you are a college teacher looking for solo opportunities, consider performing an original or transcribed solo with band. There are some great resources out there for tracking down these pieces, one of the most recent being a new website by Dr. Brent Shires, Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. Shires gives the following introduction to his website, located at http://www.horn-and-band.info/.

My Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois (2008)focused on the lack of academic treatment of solo horn with wind band. I sought to briefly chronicle the genre, analyze a handful of benchmark original works, and create a selected bibliography. This was a labor of love completed in November 2008.  The doctoral project is entitled “An Analysis of Three Original Works for Solo Horn with Wind Band Accompaniment.”

Most band directors and horn players aren’t aware of the history and the great amount of repertoire available. Since about 1993 I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate and centralize information about the music in order to make it more publicly accessible. I hope that this website makes it easy for you to gather useful information as you plan performances, undergo research, or just learn some of the fascinating history of the genre.

I am just getting started, so pages and information will be added as they are ready. Thanks for your patience!

The main portion of the site focuses on “original works for solo horn and band,” and includes an annotated list. There is a page for transcriptions, but that particular resource is under construction. The site is full of excellent information, and I look forward to using it more in the future.

Getting back to the Nocturno by Franz Strauss, this piece seems to work particularly well with band, and there are at least a couple of arrangements out there. I had the opportunity to perform it several times with the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Wind Ensemble, during a tour this past spring to Little Rock, Arkansas, and the surrounding area. This transcription by Burton Hardin was done in such a way that balance for the most part didn’t become an issue. Being overshadowed by the band can be a concern for the horn soloist, but with a sensitive conductor and a responsive ensemble, most balance problems can be worked out nicely. I will say that I never felt like I needed to play too softly, and I stood in a position which hopefully maximized my projection.  For more on this topic, check out my post titled “Solo Performances: Where do you Stand?” In all of the Nocturno performances on this tour I stood with my bell facing the audience, as shown in Example 2  in the link above. Included below is a link to one of those performances, which I recorded on my Edirol R-09HR. Of all the performances I was probably the most happy with this one in terms of phrasing and overall musicality. The recording is unedited, and I placed the Edirol in the back of the auditorium where we performed.  The conductor is Dr. Derle Long, Director of Bands and Head of the Division of Music at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

If you are interested in other horn and band transcriptions, visit Thompson Edition’s online catalog; they have several works from the standard repertoire.

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