Concerto for Horn (2004)
Instrumentation: 2222 / 2200 / 2 perc / pno / Solo Horn / strings
I. Misterioso; Aggressively
II. Mystical, suspended
III. Fast, energetic, precise
Duration: 20 minutes
World Premiere: Commissioned and premiered by William Ver Meulen and the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, Larry Rachleff, conductor, Rice University, Houston, TX on November 6, 2004.
My Horn Concerto was written for William VerMeulen, principal horn of the Houston Symphony, and Larry Rachleff, music director of Rice University’s Symphony Orchestra. The piece was a true collaboration in that Bill and I got together numerous times to read through and try out the piece. He made several suggestions, and I made many revisions along the way. For me, this was the best situation for a composer; to have close access to the performer and really collaborate on a piece. The work uses a traditional three-part structure. The first movement begins with a slow introduction, and the horn enters immediately with what will become the characteristic motivic cell of the movement: a falling and rising major seventh. The main body of this movement features double-tonguing in the horn, with a rhythm (two 16ths followed by an 8th) that recurs throughout the movement. The cadenza brings back the opening material, now with the percussion section performing a rhythmic ostinato in the background. The second movement features antiphonal chimes (echoing each other from opposite sides of the stage). Quasi-quotations from Gregorian chant also appear, especially in the horn part. The third movement features more angular gestures, syncopated rhythms, difficult wide leaps in the horn part, and the percussion, now playing various sized drums, set in opposition to the rest of the orchestra.
-- Pierre Jalbert
© 2016 Pierre Jalbert, Horn Concerto
Photo: Julia Jalbert