commentary to opus 96a

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Music for Horn in F and Orchestra, op. 96a (1993)


Orchestra: - - Timpani, Percussion. <2>, Strings

Duration: 18 Minutes

Publisher: N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes)
Piano reduction: EE 5306 / ISMN: 979-0-2211-2085-4


The "Music for Horn in F and Orchestra" , op. 96a (1993) has the character of an instrumental ballade with rhapsodic elements, in which the soloist takes, so to speak, the role of the narrator. This work in one movement is subdivided into seven sections of contrasting dynamic and rhythmical structure.
The piece opens with an eight-part sound, unfolding like a fan, which is re-used several times in the course of the piece to separate sections. A diatonic, lyrical theme in the solo instrument develops to a first climax. The second section is an allegro over rhythmically beating basses, opening into an orchestral tutti. The Gregorian hymn "Pange, lingua, gloriosi" is cited in the third section, to be then combined in a fourth section with the beating allegro of the second.
In the next formal section, the complete material of the work - whose beginning is clearly signalled by the abrupt breaking-off of a rising passage - is reworked in a kind of development with short orchestral and solo episodes. A last build-up leads into a cadenza for the soloist, which forms the penultimate section. In the coda, the plainchant motif undergoes jazz-like transformations; then a 16-part chord is built up, out of which the Horn emerges with its final musical word - with a B-A-C-H (B-Flat - A - C - B) motif of which hints had previously been audible. A reserved E-Flat chord with a fading upwards glissando closes the work in an extreme pianissimo.

Bertold Hummel

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