Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Stories

Most of the comments I post on this blog are related to honists' success in overcoming the technical aspects of horn playing. The following two messages are little different. These unsolicited comments were sent me in emails expressing tender feelings of why the writers study the horn.

The first is from Doug Wagner who has a professional background in low brass, but now pursues the illusive horn tone with passion.
I think it was Barry Tuckwell that wrote that the F side is very inefficient in terms of the way the instrument is built. Somehow the physics of the instrument make it more difficult to create a centered tone that can be played without danger of splitting and chipping, BUT --- that's what gives the instrument its great sound. I'm working more and more on the F side because the sound is so much better in the low and middle ranges. In some cases, I play on the F side even into the higher register, because there is a subtle but very real difference in the tone quality. For many years, I wrote arrangements that featured the horn because I loved the sound so much. As a player, I'm constantly striving for that great horn sound. When I make it, it is such a thrill!

The horn is the greatest instrument ever. It stands to reason that it would be more difficult than all the others, otherwise anyone could play it. And even though I know I'll never be the master of it, the joy is in the pursuit. And every once in a while, it's just pure magic. When I create that gorgeous sound, even for a moment, it's what keeps me going.

Last Sunday [my two children] and I played an arrangement I wrote at a recital. What a great time we had! The piece was well received and we had fun. It was such a thrill to play with my kids! What fine young persons they are. My proud Poppa buttons were bursting! It was worth every agonizing minute I have spent wrestling with the horn, all the times of self doubt and discouragement just to be able to play competently along with my kids. There is a tremendous thrill at seeing my children grow into young adults and excel at something I have loved so much.

I let music go for a long time because I burned out. Now that I've re-kindled, it's even more fun. I'm listening to music again and finding more enjoyment than ever. What a marvelous thing to experience. I loved [my daughter's]answer when I asked her if she wanted to major in music. Her reply was, "What else would I do?"



The second quotation is from Larry Jellison, a retired engineer who returned to his childhood sweetheart, the horn, a little over 10 years ago.

Hi Val,

Just checking horn playing on Youtube, came across this performance. ... I could guess the shape of the horn bell by listening. It is a medium belled horn. The recording is enhanced with some reverb. He is able to play high without becoming shrill. I admire this recording, because it focuses on what horn playing should be-- total beauty of the sound of the horn. I'm encouraged that one thing musicians like us can do is achieve an incredibly beautiful horn tone. I had just finished listening to Mason Jones on the Internet play Chabrier, using a large belled horn. Much
different sound, yet still total beauty. I think Mason played an 8D.
Articulation becomes different with a large belled horn, more difficult, but the
challenge is to find an articulation that stays true to the characteristics of the horn without sounding sluggish.


No comments:

Post a Comment