Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Duration: 14:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

My Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra (1993) was commissioned by the Bravo! Colorado Music Festival at Vail*Beaver Creek, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and French Hornist, David Jolley; made possible by a grant from the Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace Reader?s Digest Fund. The work is approximately 14 minutes in duration. Its premiere took place in Vail at the Bravo! Colorado Music Festival with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under Lawrence Leighton Smith conducting, and David Jolley, solo horn.

The Concerto is in one movement with five section, including a solo cadenza. Although the work is concerto-like in the exploration of a wide range of technical and dramatic possibilities of the horn - culminating in a highly virtuosic cadenza - the piece can also be heard as a "tone poem" with the horn cast as the "hero."

Yet, while I think of the solo horn as an heroic figure, I have very much enjoyed the interplay and dialogue between horn and strings and I allowed the character and nature of the horn to influence the strings and vice-versa. For instance, in the cadenza the solo horn line sometimes breaks into two or three parts, projecting two or three voices (a type of solo writing usually associated with strings, not winds); and on several occasions I have used the violas, divided in three, together with the solo horn, to suggest the sound of a quartet of horns. For me, the combination of solo horn and string orchestra is rich and evocative, as is the unique nature of the horn; its warmth and color; its dramatic legato as well as its pungent staccato; the sheer breadth of its sound.

The Concerto is dedicated to hornist David Jolley, for whom it was written.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Bravo! Colorado Music Festival at Vail & Beaver Creek, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and David Jolley.
Composition Date 1993
Orchestration Solo Hn., Str.
Premiere 1st August, 1993. David Jolley, solo Horn; Rochester Philharmonic, conducted by Lawrence Leighton Smith, Bravo! Colorado Music Festival, Vail.

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