Characters for Solo Horn
by Kerry Turner
Scales, arpeggios, slurs, attacks, interval skips, extreme high and low register playing, and extreme loud and soft dynamics are the usual routine elements of most professional hornists’ warmups. Indeed, certain schools teach a very rigorous exercising of these elements, much the same way as an athlete would maintain a vigorous workout routine every day. CHARACTERS for Solo French Horn began as an etude, a search for the most comprehensive warmup etude possible, an etude that would in a short amount of time cover the entire spectrum of modern French Horn playing.
As is typical of my own particular warmup routine, I conceived of the opening and closing as a simple melody. This was to establish the general purpose of the horn — to make music. I then assembled a collection of exercises, each representing a different facet of my daily routine. The result, a lengthy etude of short segmented exercises, resembled the final version only slightly. Slowly, with each playing and with natural editing, a unifying of the routine took place. What appeared was an array of extreme styles and personalities, each representing a different aspect of the Horn’s multi-personalitied capabilities.
The first public hearing of the work was as an encore to a solo recital that I gave in New York. It was at this performance that the piece received the description as “Characters” by the citric; thus the title CHARACTERS for Solo French Horn.
The piece should be presented as a sort of “Pictures at an Exhibition” for solo horn. Although the performer has the liberty to play the piece freely, most sections should maintain a clear pulse. Also, certain more difficult passages have possible alternatives indicated.
Phoenix Music Publications
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