Today I got to hear lots of brass chamber music, first from the Gaudete Brass in a concert featuring original music for brass quintet. According to their website, the Gaudete (gow-day-tay) Brass is committed to “presenting serious brass chamber music through compelling concerts, commissioning new works and adventurous recordings.” They certainly lived up to their mission in today’s concert, performing these works:
- Entrance (2003) David Sampson
- Lighthouse Suite (2014) Daniel Baldwin
- Still (2013) David Sampson
- Brass Quintet (2009) Shafer Mahoney
The group sounded very good, with a polished and professional stage presence.
Next I attended a master class by Eli Epstein, “Cultivating One’s Own Voice on the Horn.” In this class he listened to three students perform various works (Rachmaninov, Vocalise; Massenet, Meditation from Thais; Schumann, Adagio and Allegro) and helped them tap into their own emotions to deliver more convincing and authentic performances. For more on this technique (and many more insights!) read his book, Horn Playing from the Inside Out.
After the master class it was time for some more new music. Jeffrey Snedeker gave an impressive performance of Dana Wilson’s Musings for Horn and Piano. I’ve known about Wilson’s music for quite a while, but have not yet performed any of it. After hearing many of his works at this symposium I am definitely planning to perform some in the future. Gene Berger then performed the World Premiere of Christoph Nils Thompson‘s Sonata for Horn and Piano. This has been a great symposium for new music, with ten world premieres thus far. The concert closed with a performance by the Washburn University Faculty Brass Quintet (Dr. Matthew Haislip, horn) of Haislip’s Brass Quintet No. 1 in D Major.
I stayed in the same concert hall for a bit of the next recital, but left about half way through to grab dinner and have some down time before the evening concert. Bravo to Corbin Wagner for his very fine performance of the Christoph Förster Concerto (First Movement) and Bozza’s Sur Les Cimes. On a related note, today I purchased a copy of his book, The How-to Horn Book, and his recording of music for soprano, horn, and piano. More about these in a future post.
I only attended the first half of this evening’s concert, opting instead for an earlier night to rest up for my presentation tomorrow. However, the part I heard was very unique, beginning with some entertaining pre-concert music by the Cornua Irae Quartet. Their blend of humor and solid horn playing was very enjoyable. The concert opened with impeccable playing by Gail Williams on David Gwilt’s Sonatina for Horn and Piano, followed by several works performed by Nobuaki Fukukawa, Principal Horn of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. His program included a U.S. premiere and two world premieres, chief among them being a new work by Eric Ewazen. His Nocturne and Toccata was commissioned by the Japan Horn Society for their 2016 competition, and is sure to become a popular piece in the repertoire. If I had to sum up Fukukawa’s playing in one word it would be “stunning.” His boundless technique is balanced by mature phrasing and finesse. Of the works he played, the Ewazen is probably the most approachable, though it was also quite challenging.
Coming up tomorrow, I have my Solo Training for Horn Presentation and a few more performances and clinics to see. It will probably be my last full day at the symposium, as I am planning to spend Saturday sight-seeing with my relatives. There is some gorgeous natural scenery in Ithaca, and I want to get some more pictures! Here are a couple of shots taken very quickly on campus. The first is looking down from the music building across the Ithaca campus, the second is a similar view, but at sunset, and the third is a deer I saw on campus during my walk back from a concert.