What’s On My Music Stand, Summer Edition

musicstandsummereditionHere’s a quick rundown on what I’ve been practicing this summer. Scheduling has been more of a challenge, but I’m finally settling into a decent (but flexible) routine. Some of them are old favorites, but there is also plenty of new (at least to me) and exciting repertoire. If you find yourself getting bogged down during the summer months, pick out some new pieces (solos, etudes, excerpts, chamber music, etc.) and get to work!

Old Stuff

  • Eurico Carrapatoso, Sete Melodias in Forma De Bruma Keeping these in shape for performance at the 45th International Horn Symposium in Memphis, TN.
  • Kopprasch Complete, ed. Corbin Wagner Hoping to record some more videos this summer, and right now I’m working on Nos. 51, 52, and 53.

New Stuff

  • Paul Basler, Etudes for Horn, Volume 2 A two-volume set of studies that will push your technique, range, and endurance. Not as difficult as the Verne Reynolds etudes, but just as stimulating! Read a review of them at Horn Matters.

I’m working on the next several pieces in preparation for a duo faculty recital this fall with my colleague, Dr. Mel Mobley, who teaches percussion, composition, and music theory here at ULM. There is some wonderful and challenging music out there for horn and percussion, and I’m really looking forward to this recital. If you are interested in finding out more about horn and percussion music, one excellent resource is a dissertation by Dr. Casey N. Maltese, A Performance Guide of Selected Works for Horn and Mallet Percussion, D.M.A dissertation, the University of Miami, 2011.

  • Daniel McCarthy, The Call of Boromir for Horn and Marimba Dedicated to Christopher and Leslie Norton, this brief piece is inspired by passages from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. Lots of fun writing for both instruments! Here’s a great performance by Brigette Hopkins (horn) and Justin Stolarik (marimba) at the University of Texas-Austin.
  • Verne Reynolds, HornVibes: Three Duos for Horn and Vibraphone Another substantial work for horn and mallet percussion, HornVibes was also composed for Christopher and Leslie Norton. The outer movements are sustained and atmospheric, and the central movement contains jazz influences. This piece is currently out of print, and is a bit tricky to get your hands on – more on this in a future post.
  • Mark Schultz, Dragons in the Sky for Horn, Percussion, and Tape Another Tolkien-inspired work, this time drawing on passages from The Silmarillion. I performed this piece in doctoral school, and I’m very excited about performing it again after several years. One of the most notable features in the horn part is the use of multiple extended techniques. Check out this recording by Thomas Bacon to hear them.
  • Steven Winteregg, High Veld Sunrise for Horn and MIDI I’m planning to round out the rest of the horn and percussion recital with a few solo works, this being one of them. This piece was commissioned by Dr. Richard Chenoweth, who, “having returned from a safari to the African veld…wanted a piece for horn and MIDI that evoked the sounds of Africa.” (composer’s notes). If you don’t know any of Steven Winteregg’s music, he has lots of great pieces for horn, including solos, chamber music, and horn ensembles. High Veld Sunrise is really fun to play, and is very accessible to audiences.

Blue Soliloquy and other “Jazzy” Works for Unaccompanied Horn

I am always pleasantly surprised to find out who has been reading my blog.  On Monday morning when I checked my campus mail I was greeted by a package from Steven Winterregg, a composer and tuba player who has written a number of solo and chamber works for horn.  You can check out a complete list of his works  here, but it suffices to say he is a prolific composer with many fine works for brass instruments. Dr. Winteregg had recently read my post on the solo competition at the Southeast Horn Workshop, in which I noted that I was interested in hearing his Blue Soliloquy for unaccompanied horn.  In response, Dr. Winteregg very generously sent me a copy of the piece along with a CD recording!  The CD features hornist Richard Chenoweth in recordings of Winteregg’s chamber music.  The performances are all fantastic, including Blue Soliloquy, which was commissioned by Richard Chenoweth and the International Horn Society’s Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund.  According to the liner notes, Blue Soliloquy “was composed in memory of Richard’s father, Paul Chenoweth, who was an enthusiastic advocate of both Richard and Steve. Since Paul was a lover of older jazz, Blue Soliloquy was written with a jazz flavor and an elegiac mood as a remembrance.” (Liner notes by Richard Chenoweth, edited and revised by Andrea Chenoweth.)

This single-movement piece looks very playable, yet challenging enough to keep advanced players interested.  In addition to jazz rhythms, it also includes inflections such as bends, shakes, and slides (portamento). I am planning to perform the piece on an upcoming recital, and am looking forward to working on it – thanks again Steve!

Listening to Blue Soliloquy brought to mind a number of other “jazzy” compositions for unaccompanied horn.  I use the word jazzy because although these works don’t specifically require improvisation (a hallmark of jazz), they do at times make extensive use of the rhythms and language of jazz.   I’ve listed as many as I can think of below – feel free to comment if you know of other works.

  • David Amram, Blues and Variations for Monk
  • Stanley Friedman, Topanga Variations
  • Douglas Hill, Jazz Set; Jazz Soliloquies; Oddities; Greens/Blues/Reds
  • Trygve Madsen, Dream of the Rhinoceros
  • Daniel Schnyder, Le Monde Miniscule
  • Les Thimmig, Bluefire Crown II
  • Alec Wilder, 12 Pieces for Solo Horn

%d bloggers like this: