Solo Bucket List

Over the past several years I’ve been compiling a “bucket list” of solo works that I have previously worked on, but never performed. Some of them are major works in the repertoire that for one reason or another I haven’t yet had the opportunity to perform, while others are less well known but still worthwhile. A solo bucket list comes in very handy when programming recitals, especially if I am looking for one or two more works to fill out a program. At some point in the future it might also be really fun to put together an entire recital from the list. Here’s a small sampling of my list, in no particular order.

  • Ferdinand Ries, Sonata in F
  • Francis Poulenc, Elegie
  • Eric Ewazen, Sonata
  • Richard Bissell, Lone Call and Charge
  • Paul Basler, Canciones
  • Douglas Hill, Song Suite in Jazz Style
  • Carl Maria von Weber, Concertino
  • G.P. Telemann, Concerto in D
  • Camille Saint-Säens, Romance, Op. 67 (Not the more common Op. 36 Romance)
  • Christoph Förster, Concerto in E-flat
  • Benjamin Britten, Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings

I practiced some of these pieces quite extensively in graduate school but never performed them – Douglas Hill’s Song Suite, for instance – but others I’ve really only read through a couple of times, like the Sonata in F by Ferdinand Ries (cover image at left). Ries was a contemporary of Beethoven, and there are some striking similarities between their horn sonatas. It’s a great piece in its own right, and is definitely near the top of my “to be performed soon” list. One interesting note about my copy is the signatures on the cover. This copy belonged first (I assume) to John Barrows, and then Nancy Becknell, who taught alongside Douglas Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During my doctoral studies Ms. Becknell donated several boxes of music to Professor Hill’s current horn students, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on this edition of the Ries sonata.

If you haven’t started putting together your own bucket list you might want to do so, as it can come in handy later in your career. And of course you don’t have to stop at solo works. Feel free to include chamber music and other appropriate literature as well. What’s on your bucket list?

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I studied the Ries last year in my natural horn lessons and used the Telemann for the descant lessons… both are very fun 🙂


My Moosewood BV. Whenever I get my own instruments I’ll get a Moosewood BD (I think that’s the descant model) and a mouthpiece with the correct taper for natural horn playing.


I really like the BV. I was playing on the BW before but the BV has a smaller bore which works better for me.


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