First Performance: Epilogue, by Roger Jones

I’ve mentioned composer Roger Jones on this blog before, most recently when discussing his Diversions for Brass Trio (which is published by the IHS Online Music Library).  Earlier this week  I was privileged to take part in the premiere performance of another piece by Roger, his Epilogue for Horn and PianoPianist Richard Seiler and I played the piece as part of a recital program at a local church, and both Roger’s piece and the entire concert were very well received.  To top it off, the composer was able to be at the performance, which is always a great thing when premiering a new work.  Epilogue is based on American poet Robert Lowell‘s poem by the same name.   You can read the poem here, which Roger asked me to read aloud before performing his piece – from the feedback I got this was quite effective.  There are plenty of analyses of the poem online, but the clearest and most succinct description I could find came from Caroline Fraser, an author and book reviewer.  Of the poem she writes “The last poem in his last published volume is “Epilogue,” one of the greatest poems ever written about art, the need to make it, the failures it entails, the solace it confers” (LA Times Sunday Book Review, June 22, 2003).  I think the musical work does an excellent job of conveying the poet’s mix of emotions when thinking back on his life and his contributions to his art.  The horn writing was challenging, but also idiomatic, with contrasting melodies that I would characterize as heroic, lyrical, aggressive, and plaintive.  The piano part also embodies all of these qualities, making for a very exciting piece.  Included below is a recording of the premiere performance of Epilogue for Horn and Piano, by Roger Jones.

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