The first movement, Fanfares, starts slowly and mysteriously, using motives from the main thematic material of the movement. A brass fanfare ensues followed by an entrance by the solo horn hinting at the main thematic material to follow. The second movement, Supplication, is a fantasy based on a beautiful hymn tune. The third movement, Dance Refrains, is a lively and spirited romp cast mostly in 6/8 meter and Bb minor, featuring a cadenza by the solo horn.
Genre: Solo Horn with Piano | # of Players: 2
Level: Difficult | Duration: 20:00
Solo Horn in F
The Gower Community Band of St. John's, NL, CANADA, Edsel Bonnell, Director, commissioned the Concerto for Horn and Symphonic Band.
The concerto is cast in the usual three-movement format with the first and last movements structured in sonata-rondo design. The work is not intended to be programmatic, but titles have been given to each of the movements which allude to a musical style or mood.
The first movement, Fanfares, starts slowly and mysteriously, using motives from the main thematic material of the movement answered by haunting falling minor thirds in the oboes and later in the low brass. A brass fanfare ensues followed by an entrance by the solo horn hinting at the main thematic material to follow. This section grows to a fanfare-like conclusion and leads to the allegro section and the first theme group. The first theme group is a spirited melodic line saturated with intervals of the perfect fourth that are commonly found in traditional fanfares. The low brass follow with the second theme group that contrasts the first with a flowing and lyrical line. The solo horn then brings back the first theme group and closes the exposition. The development seeks to extensively exploit motives from both theme groups in various guises and leads to the recapitulation. In the recapitulation, the solo horn carries both the first and second theme groups. This is followed by a partial return of the first theme group played in augmentation by low brass and woodwinds against fanfare riffs by the solo horn. The slow tempo of the introduction returns and the horn plays a sort of quasi-cadenza that is followed by a fast and rousing coda.
The second movement, Supplication, is a fantasy based on a beautiful hymn tune composed by Gower Community Band Director, Edsel Bonnell. The hymn, A Prayer from Youth, was written for the Gower Youth Band for a special performance on May 30, 1975. The first verse and chorus are as follows:
We ask not for gold or fame
When we pray in Thy Great Name;
Not for self or worldly gain
Lord, we come to Thee.
The earth, the sky, the flower, the tree,
All creatures of the land and sea,
Let us live at peace in Thee;
Lord, this is our prayer.
The third movement, Dance Refrains, is a lively and spirited romp cast mostly in 6/8 meter and Bb minor. The sonata-rondo design of the movement is unique in that the second theme group in the exposition is based on the first theme group of the first movement and the second theme group of the recapitulation features the return of the verse of the hymn tune from the second movement accompanied by fanfare motives in the solo horn. The development section primarily features first theme group material. A cadenza by the solo horn is featured after a partial return of the first theme group in the recapitulation. The cadenza reworks first theme material and the hymn tune from the second movement. The dance-like first theme material returns and leads to a joyous climax in D major.