Choosing a program for a Horn recital is a unique process. To play consistenly for the length of a concert can be difficult- it is quite an aerobic instrument! Because the tiny muscles in our faces that work to produce the music of Mozart, Strauss, etc. are so delicate, playing a recital can feel like running a marathon.
Programming must not only consider the artistic, but also the physical. I chose to highlight some of the Horn’s more romantic works with piano, including Franz Strauss’ Nocturne for Horn and Piano. Franz was the father of the famous Richard Strauss, and he himself was a Horn virtuoso. The piece is a lush lullaby, and features the softer side of the instrument. Steering away from Romanticism is the Messiaen solo horn piece entitled “Appel Interstellaire.” This is one of my favorite solo horn pieces- it is performed completely alone, with no accompaniment. While the piece is very challenging, it has a lot of room to breathe- figuratively and literally. It is a musical portrait of the American Southwest, complete with birdsongs and echoes off the canyon walls. The “meat & poatoes” of the first half will be Schumann’s masterpiece Adagio and Allegro for Horn and Piano. It showcases the Horn’s most lyrical and more aggressive playing and uses the entire range of the instrument in pitch, timbre and dynamic.
After intermission (neccessary to rest one’s “chops,” as we call them), I will perform Gliere’s Intermezzo, a short piece with Piano that mirrors the soft Romanticism of the F. Strauss. Then some of my string-playing friends will join me for the Mozart Horn Quintet for Violin, 2 Violas, Cello and Horn. At the end of the recital, the more, the merrier! I love this piece so much- it is classically Mozart with its fun and vibrant outer movements complete with frills, trills and runs, and the more tender inner Adagio in between.
I look forward to seeing you all there!