Duo for horn & piano

Duo for horn and piano was originally composed in the fall of 1990, then later revised for the present edition. It is this version that was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 1998 International Horn Society Composition Contest.

In two movements, the composition is entitled Duo because the piano part is not merely an accompaniment; it is an equal musical partner with the horn. The first movement, Improvisation, begins with a rhythmic figure and a harmonic expansion of intervals in the piano. This rhythm, and the concept of intervallic expansion, become the generative basis for the entire movement. The horn writing is virtuosic and the syncopated interrelationship of the two parts creates a movement which is fast and energetic. There are two tonal centers in this music, G (where it begins) and C# (where it ends). This progression will be complimented by the same sort of tritone structure in the second movement (B-flat–E) which also uses a progressive tonality. This movement, designated Serenade, moves between both slow and fast music. The slower sections are a series of variations, as if a slow movement had been spliced into the fast music around it. The integration of this disjunct slow movement allows the horn to display its lyrical, singing qualities.

Duo has been performed at SUNY-Stonybrook, on the Society of Composers National Conference at the University of Alabama, the University of Northern Iowa, and on the National Association of Composers/USA recital series in New York City. It was premiered by Karen Hough (horn) and Genevieve Lee (piano) at the Yale School of Music, 13 December 1990, on the New Music New Haven Series, Jacob Druckman, Director.

Score and audio excerpts of Duo are provided on the publisher’s website.

horn, piano
Date completed:
ca. 9:00
International Horn Society

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