April 20, 2021


James Boldin, horn
Music for Horn and…


Visions for Horn and Fixed Media                              James Naigus (b. 1987)

Visions for Horn and Fixed Media was written in 2021 and supported by Chris Castellanos and the Visions Consortium Project. The title of the piece refers to the different and unique visual or mental landscapes or… visions, that the music evokes in the listener and performer. This piece was conceived in 2020 during the pandemic, when collaboration among musicians dwindled and artistic motivation waned. My goal was to write a piece that would be safely programmable on recitals without collaboration, challenging enough to pique motivation, and most importantly, fun to play. -Notes by the composer

Gently Weep for Horn and Digital Delay           Thomas Hundemer (b. 1954)

Gently Weep for Horn and Digital Delay was originally commissioned by natural hornist Kristine Coreil. The piece’s title occurred to the composer as it was being finished: he discovered that one of his musical motifs resembled “When My Guitar Gently Weeps,” by the Beatles. – Notes by the composer

Out of This World for Horn and Tape                 Jeffrey Agrell (b. 1948)

Traditional classical horn repertoire centers around horn and piano, so that if you want to give a recital, your choices are either 1) find a pianist who is willing and able to put in the rehearsal time and then time on the road and 2) find funding to pay for this pianist. This audio accompaniment recording was made last year as a first step in a longer-range project to build a library of various audio accompaniments to use in concerts, especially when traveling.

The recording was assembled in layers in the popular program GarageBand. There are many different kinds of sounds here, but the central sound that permeates the entire recording is the “sound of interstellar space”. Voyager 1, which was launched (along with its twin Voyager 2) in 1977 with the purpose of exploring interstellar space. In August 2012, Voyager 1 finally entered that region between the stars. Both spacecraft are still going, still sending back information from Deep Space.

Among the eleven instruments on board Voyager is a Plasma Wave Instrument. In charge of it, incidentally, is Dr. Don Gurnett, the James Van Allen professor of physics at the University of Iowa. The plasma wave instrument does not detect sound – there is, of course, no sound in outer space since there is no atmosphere. It does, however, record the waves of electrons in the ionized gas (= plasma) in space through which Voyager travels. Since the frequencies of these waves occur at audio frequencies, they can be played through a loudspeaker. The “interstellar plasma music” is triggered by bursts of solar activity, which take a year to reach Voyager from the sun through space. Voyager can register these plasma waves and translate them into sounds that we can hear. NASA released the sounds into the public domain (we can hear them directly on a UI Physics Department web site: Professor Gurnett’s favorites include “Earth Whistlers”, “Earth Chorus”, “Jupiter bow shock crossing”, and more. Thus: the sounds of space are mixed with a variety of bass, percussion, and other sounds, including whale calls to produce a unique accompaniment for the horn to solo over.  – Notes by the composer


Thoughtful Wanderings                                                 Douglas Hill (b. 1946)
for Natural Horn, Recorded Percussion, and Nature Sounds

  • Eagle at Ease in the Sky
  • Six-legged Dance
  • Woodland Trail
  • Spring Dance

To Native Americans, music has been the breath of the spirit of all life. There is scarcely a task, an event, or a feeling which does not have its own and fitting song. It is generally thought that these songs come to the Indians through dreams or visitations, and that people are only receptacles for this music and feel responsible to unravel its content and design.

This music might superficially be thought of as some of the world’s least substantive, however, when taken within the social, poetic and spiritual contexts from which it comes one perceives a further message. The solo music of the American Indian flute, for example, is of a profound simplicity. It has at once a reverent meditative quality and a naive romantic mirth. The dances of the Indians express their depth of feelings emotionally, spiritually and physically towards their fellows, present and past, and toward Mother Earth and Father Sky and all of their inhabitants.

Thoughtful Wanderings was composed for the natural horn because of its limitations to “nature’s scale,” and for the closeness of that set of pitches to the scale of the traditional six-holed Indian flute. The horn’s powerful sound and articulated energy can also easily become on ewith the dance rhythms and “drums” of the ceremony.

Titles for these pieces were created as they were being composed rather than before, thus describing where this music was carrying me. -Notes by the composer

Forces of Nature                                                           Nicholas Fife (b. 1988)
for Horn and CD with Optional Electric Horn

  • Supercell
  • Lunar Tides
  • Avalanche

Supercell: This movement is about a massive thunderstorm. Picture yourself watching clouds roll in on a hot summer’s day. Before long, you feel raindrops on your skin. As you get closer to your house, the rain and wind start to pick up. You fling your front door open to escape the storm, and just in the nick of time. Lightning starts to crash, filling your living room with an ominous glow. Just as you think the roof is about to fly away, the storm begins to subside. The form of this movement is a palindrome, so the storm ends exactly how it began, with the pitter-patter of raindrops.

Lunar Tides: The second movement is much more subdued, and is also a palindrome. Everything is meant to feel like waves. There is a sequence of fifths that acts as a palindrome throughout. The opening section is very important for the horn. All of the crescendos and diminuendos create a wave-like sound.

Avalanche: The climactic final movement is very different than the preceding movements. In “Avalanche,” the performer has the option of playing with electric horn for almost the entire movement. Put yourself on a beautiful mountain when, all of a sudden, you hear something rumbling toward you. Without a second’s hesitation, you are bounding down the mountain, desperately trying to reach shelter. As you reach for the shelter, you start to feel the snow pelting your back, but you close the door right before the snow engulfs you. This movement is intense and should be performed like there is adrenaline coursing through your veins. -Notes by the composer

September 29, 2020

Lagniappe Brass


Chester Chorale and Variations, by William Billings (1746-1800) arr. Peter Neu

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) arr. Craig Kaucher

Clair de Lune, by Claude Debussy, arr. Jari Villanueva

Three Sketches, by Douglas S. Bristol, ASCAP (b. 1961)

  1. Vivace
  2. Adagio
  3. Maestoso


Two Quartets, by Floriano Canale (ca. 1550-1603) transcribed and edited by Daniel D’Addio

  1. La Martinenga
  2. La Canobbia

Three Chorales, by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) arr. David R. Thomas

  1. Break Forth, O Beauteous, Heavenly Light
  2. Planets, Stars and Airs of Space
  3. Thee with Tender Care

Quartets for Brass by Antoine Simon (1850-1916)

  • Marche
  • Fughetta
  • Molto Espressivo
  • Petit Rondo

October 6, 2020


Download Program Notes

Five Songs, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) arr. Martin Hackleman

  • Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op. 105, No. 1
  • Minnelied, Op. 71, No. 5
  • Der Gang zum Liebchen, Op. 48, No. 1
  • Die Mainacht, Op. 43, No. 2
  • An die Nachtigall, Op. 46, No. 4

Preludes for Horn and Piano (2000), by Kenneth Amis (b. 1970)

  • No. 1, Pastorale
  • No. 3, Risoluto

Reverie for Horn and Piano (2019), by Gina Gillie (b. 1981)

Sonata for Horn and Piano (2018), by James Naigus (b. 1987)

  • I. With Feeling
  • II. Reflective
  • III. Spirited
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