british horn society festival liverpool 2015 programme notes morning

MORNING RECITAL 11.00 – 12.00
Sabores de España
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra horns & Opera North Orchestra horns: Alberto Menéndez Escribano,
Rebecca Hill, Philip Stoker, Robert Ashworth, John Pratt
This potpourri of Spanish ‘flavours’ by Albeniz (1860-1909), Granados (1867-1916), Rodrigo (19011999), De Falla (1876-1946), Padilla (1889-1960), and others, was arranged for horn quintet by Maxi
Santos Ferrer in 2004. Santos was born in Valencia in 1971 and studied horn locally at first, later
attending the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid. He went on to study with Radovan Vlatković
in Stuttgart.
Franz Strauss (1822-1905)
Introduction, Theme & Variations Op. 13
Tim Jackson acc. Richard Casey
Franz Strauss is well known to all horn players as the father of Richard, and as the first horn for the
premières of most of Wagner’s later operas. The Hornplayer published William Melton’s superb
article on his life and works in 2013. His Introduction, Theme & Variations was published in Munich
by Otto Halbreiter in 1875.
Hans-Jürg Sommer (b. 1950)
1. Uf d’r Aeugstere 2. Moosruef 3. Schönrieder
The Holcombe Duo – Neil and Helen Grundy
Born in 1950, Hans-Jürg Sommer trained as a teacher of classical guitar before teaching himself to
play the alphorn. His love of the instrument and its history has led him to become the most prolific,
and frequently performed, composer of alphorn music in Switzerland.
Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) arr. Holtzel
Anton Bruckner arr. Ashworth
Andante in Db
Christus Factus Est
Hallé Orchestra Wagner tuba quartet:
Julian Plummer, Tom Redmond, Andrew Maher, Richard Bourn
Michael Holtzel’s arrangement is, of course, the glorious tuba theme from the slow movement of
Bruckner’s 7th Symphony. Our own Bob Ashworth made this lovely arrangement of Bruckner’s 1884
setting of the motet Christus factus est – his third – which was composed just after the 7th Symphony
and the Te Deum.
Nikolaus von Krufft (1779-1818)
Sonata in E for horn & piano
Jean-Pierre Dassonville acc. Richard Casey
Nikolaus, Freiherr (Baron) von Krufft was born into a noble family of considerable means. He studied
composition with Albrechtsberger. His output is mainly church music, music for piano, songs and
some chamber music, notably sonatas for bassoon and for horn. He was a co-founder of the Wiener
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung and died quite young, ostensibly from ‘overwork’, though it is now
thought that, like Schubert, he was suffering from syphilis. Jean-Pierre will be using a hand-horn by
Marcel-Auguste Raoux dating from the beginning of the 19th century for this morning’s performance.
Vittorio Monti (1868-1922)
Tim Jackson acc. Richard Casey
Composed in 1904, Monti’s famous Czardas has been arranged for nearly every instrumental
combination known to man – but never for the hand-horn – until Tim Jackson got is hands on it!
EVENING RECITAL 18.00 - 19.30
Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)
Sonata for horn & piano, 3rd movement (con fuoco)
Anna Drysdale (winner of the 2015 Paxman Award)
Josef Rheinberger was born in the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein. He entered the Munich
Conservatorium in 1851 becoming Professor of Piano and Composition there not long after his own
graduation. In 1877 he was appointed court conductor – responsible for the royal chapel’s music.
Amongst his many distinguished students were Wolf-Ferrari, Humperdinck and the conductor,
Wilhelm Furtwängler. Stylistically influenced by Brahms, Rheinberger is now known mainly for his
organ compositions. Nevertheless he was a prolific composer with nearly 200 published works and
many that went unpublished (of which his Jagdszene for piano, WoO 001, might be worth our
talented arrangers taking a look at). His horn sonata, perhaps the horn sonata that Brahms never wrote,
is a substantial work dating from 1894.
Kerry Turner (b. 1960)
Farewell to Red Castle
Royal Northern College of Music Horn Ensemble
Shona Atkinson-Dalziel, Maximilian Boothby, Matthew Head, Adam Jordan, Anna Lawton, Kieran
Lyster, David Maxted, Stefano Rossi
Kerry Turner is a prolific composer with two symphonies, concertos for both bass trombone and low
horn, over fifty chamber works involving horns, plus thirteen works for horn alone to his name. He
studied horn at the Manhattan School of Music and then with Hermann Baumann at the Stuttgart
Hochschule für Musik. Since 1985 he has been Solo Horn of the Orchestre Philharmonique de
Luxembourg and a member of the world famous American Horn Quartet. Writing about Farewell to
Red Castle he said that it comprises a theme and variations for horn octet and was commissioned in
1995 by Soichiro Ohno and the Japanese-German Horn Ensemble. The original theme of the piece is
an authentic medieval Scottish folk song whose haunting melodic strains are typical of the music of
that country. There are four variations and a finale, each variation being totally different in character.
The work ends with a grandiose bravura, lending the Scottish theme a Texan flair.
Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838)
Introduction and Rondo for horn & piano Op. 113, No. 2
Roger Montgomery acc. Richard Casey
Ferdinand Ries composed his Introduction and Rondo in Eb in London in 1824, where he had lived
since 1813, just before returning with his English wife, Harriet Mangeon, to his native Rhineland. His
first works for horn had appeared in 1811 - the Sonata Op. 34 for horn and piano and the Concerto for
two horns and orchestra. His life and work, especially his relationship with his teacher, Beethoven,
make quite fascinating reading. Try
Rogers & Hammerstein arr. Jackson
The Sound of Music Suite
Horns of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Opera North: Tim Jackson, Simon Griffiths,
David Pigott, Tim Nicholson, Chris Morley, Bob Ashworth and John Pratt
Tim Jackson made a suite of numbers from The Sound of Music (1959) for the London Horn Sound’s
recording Give it One (2007) – scored for twelve horns and four Wagner tubas. It is a fabulous track –
downloadable from Tonight’s version is
a rescoring for smaller forces.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Adagio & Allegro for horn and piano Op. 70
Alberto Menéndez Escribano acc. by Richard Casey
In 1849 Schumann had it in mind to compose for the wind instruments: the three Romances for oboe
& piano, the Fantasiestücke for clarinet & piano, and the Adagio & Allegro for horn and piano all
appeared. Clara Schumann played through the Adagio & Allegro with the first horn of the Dresden
Court Orchestra, Julius Schlitterlau, and afterwards wrote in her diary that the piece “was splendid,
fresh and passionate – just as I like it”. Schumann himself admitted that he “had had a lot of fun
writing it”.
Jules Demersseman (1833-1866)
Fantaisie pour le nouveau cor Sax, à tubes
independants, sur un motif de Deux Reines, Opéra de Monpou
Jean-Pierre Dassonville and Richard Casey
Demersseman was born near the Belgian border. He was a flute prodigy, becoming a student at the
Paris Conservatoire at the age of eleven – and winning the Premier Prix only a year later. He died
young, aged thirty three, probably from tuberculosis. During his life he composed much for his own
instrument and became a close friend of the Belgian instrument maker, Adolphe Sax (also a flautist)
composing for Sax’s new instruments – the saxophone, saxhorn, saxotromba and the independentlytubed valved trombone. The problem with the harmonic series achieved by using 1+3 or 1+2+3 valves
is that they are, inevitably, sharp. Sax’s empirical (yet ever so slightly impractical) solution to this
problem was to use six independent tubes controlled by six valves. Only four of his horns constructed
according to this principle are thought to have survived, one of which we are unbelievably fortunate to
have been brought to us this evening by Jean-Pierre.
The printed title page of the Fantaisie has a French Depot Legal stamp dated 1860 on it but also a
stamp of the year 1866 underneath the title itself (it has the look of a stamp of the Conservatoire
library) – so written in the six years before Demersseman’s death anyway. The composer Hippolyte
Monpou also had a short life (1804-1841). He began his compositional life very much in church
music but then had some success with opera – mainly for the Opéra Comique. Les Deux Reines was
the first such success being given there in 1835. There followed another seven operas for the same
house but it was the contract for the eighth, Lambert Simnel, that proved to be his undoing. The
contract had a penalty clause of 20,000 francs were the opera not to be delivered on time and poor
Monpou’s health took such a beating from his working 24 hours a day that it brought about the total
collapse of his health – he died within weeks.
John Glenesk Mortimer (b. 1951)
Alpine Cowboy
The Holcombe Duo – Neil and Helen Grundy
John Glenesk Mortimer (he uses his middle name to avoid confusion with his namesake, the lawyerplaywright) was born in Edinburgh. He began composing when he was about ten and produced an
oboe quartet by the time he was twelve. Later he went to the Royal College of Music on a
composition scholarship and in the 70s worked as a professional viola player, moving to Switzerland
in 1976. In the 80s he became increasingly in demand as a composer and arranger and decided to do
this full time as a freelance. A particularly fruitful association has been with the Swiss specialist wind
publisher, Marc Reift. He returned to his native city in 1997.
Various arr. Stephen Roberts
A Liverpool Riot
Stephen Roberts, a staunch friend of the B.H.S. for many years, has come up with a dazzling medley
of Liverpool tunes for our ‘big finish’! Keep your ears peeled for glimpses of In My Liverpool Home,
The Leaving of Liverpool, Penny Lane, Keep That Wheel a Turnin’, Blow the Man Down, Z Cars,
Back Buchanan Street, I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool, Ferry Cross the Mersey, Galway Bay,
Strawberry Fields, You’ll Never Walk Alone – wonderful songs the lot of them.