Gearing up for the Southeast Horn Workshop

This weekend I’ll be heading to my old stomping ground of Boone, NC for the 2011 Southeast Horn Workshop, which is being held on the campus of Appalachian State University.  I’m looking forward to catching up with colleagues and former teachers, as well as hearing some fabulous horn playing by guest artists John Ericson, David Jolley, and Gail Williams.  As always, I plan to peruse the music and other publications, and I will definitely be picking up copies of John Ericson’s new low horn and technique books.   As far as these topics go, I feel that you can never have enough good resources in your library.  I’ll admit it, I’m an etude junkie!

For my part I’ll be involved in several different activities at this year’s SEHW.  On Friday I’ll be judging a portion of the College Solo Competition with Skip Snead, Professor of Horn at the University of Alabama, presenting a session called “Teaching Younger Horn Players,” and possibly teaching several 20-minute mini lessons to prospective students.  To my knowledge this hasn’t been done in a long time, if ever, at this particular regional workshop.  It should be very interesting to see what we can do in such a short time.

On Saturday I’ll be performing a brand new work for solo horn by a former college classmate, William Withem.  The work is titled Agamemnon, and is really a well-written piece, very idiomatic and fun to play.  Here are some program notes on the piece, quoted from Bill’s website.  Many thanks to Bill for taking the time and care to produce a very fine new work for horn.

In Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra, the character of Agamemnon (Elektra’s father) was murdered upon his return home from the Trojan War. The opera focuses on Elektra’s plot to exact revenge against Agamemnon’s murderers. Strauss represents Agamemnon with an ominous three-note theme that outlines a D minor chord. It first appears at the very beginning of the score, and is heard in various forms throughout the remainder of the opera. As a hypothetical question, one may wander what becomes of the memory of Agamemnon? Was he despised enough to be murdered, or should he be celebrated as a victorious commander of war? That question, plus Strauss’ motive for Agamemnon, serve as the point of inspiration for this piece; a character and thematic exploration of the Trojan War commander. The motive is treated in various forms of altered rhythms and tonal qualities, set in contrasting sections.  Each section relates to various aspects of the character: an opening call to summon his soldiers, a war march, a song to lament departing from one’s family in wartime, and a murderous dance of death.

If you happen to be in the area this weekend, I encourage you to check out the Southeast Horn Workshop.  There will be plenty of horn-related concerts, presentations, and master classes for everyone.

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