Horn Sonata: No Horns Barred (2017)
Composed February - April 2017
In three movements:
II. Relaxed: Canzonetta
Original version premiered May 5, 2021
David Griffin, horn; Mio Nakamura, piano
Version for trombone and piano premiered February 3, 2019
Will Lang, trombone; Anne Rainwater, piano
This sonata was composed for my good friend David Cooper, now principal horn of the Chicago Symphony, as a parting gift when he became principal of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2017. I had studied Dave's playing a lot when he was principal of the Dallas Symphony and I sought to capture his virtuosic musicianship in this piece. It was later arranged for trombone on request for another virtuoso player and friend of mine, Will Lang.
The first movement, Restrained, is laid back, cool and doesn't take itself too serious. It wants to burst out with energy from its introverted shell but holds itself back multiple times. The second movement is a canzonetta, or a soft song with a bluesy feel to it. The general mood is relaxed, hence the name of this movement. Finally, the beast is let out of the cage in the last movement, Unleashed. Here, the virtuosity of the player and the pianist is on full display at a truly no holds barred level.