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|Volume 4 Issue 5, November 2019|
I always look forward to the end of the year using it as a time to reflect on the things for which I am grateful, the things that have been accomplished, and the things that I hope to accomplish next year. It is also a time of remembrance, paying homage to those who have passed. In this month's newsletter, IHS Honorary Member and legendary horn player and teacher Myron Bloom (1926-2019) is remembered with tributes from Phil Myers and Ellen Dinwiddie-Smith and photo contributions by Justin Sharp.
As we round the corner into the holiday season, check out the the New England Holiday Horns Project, for some great fun, by Angela DiBartolomeo. Also do not forget to link your Amazon account to the IHS through the Amazon Smile program. What better way to donate to your favorite horn society than by shopping for yourself and those you love? The best part is that it is easy to set-up and does not cost you anything! This newsletter also features a trivia contest by Ken Pope with gift certificates to Pope Instrument Repair, just in time for the holidays.
It is also that point in the year to send in your nomination(s) for the Advisory Council and to take part in the annual membership drive. In addition, the IHS is looking for your ideas to improve the website. I am personally very excited about this project, so please submit your thoughts through the below survey! Also check out the video interview with Australian composer Paul Stanhope by Bruce Richards, with French subtitles. Ann Ellsworth also gives her insights into the creative process behind premiering a piece for horn, alphorn, and Tibetan singing bowls accompanied by a string orchestra.Happy Holidays!
Breathing Life into a World Premiere
by Ann Ellsworth
Premiering Sheila Silver's “Being in LIfe,” for Horn, Alpenhorn, Tibetan Singing Bowls and String Orchestra
Sheila Silver’s new piece, “Being in Life,” for Horn, Alpenhorn, Tibetan Singing Bowls and String Orchestra, was premiered in Seattle by the Philharmonia Northwest, Julia Tai conducting. I have never premiered a piece of this scale and magnitude or worked in such close collaboration with a composer. Sheila is an amazing creative force - watching her process different textures and phrases within her rhythmic sound world gave me a glimpse into her deeper relationship with music and sound. I was also fascinated to see firsthand how Sheila, as a composer, took this idea of a piece and grew it into a premiere. The love and commitment she gave to this piece had the same energy with which she gardens, teaches and cares for those around her. Her passion for life and music is inspiring and life-changing. I had met Sheila very briefly as a colleague when, as a junior faculty in crisis, I reached out to her for advice. Sheila reached back as a mentor and friend, played music with me, encouraged me, listened to me and talked with me about Being in Life.
Sheila’s partner, John Feldman, is a filmmaker and needed a soundtrack for his film about biologist Lynn Margulis called, “Symbiotic Earth.” Sheila invited me up to their home in the Hudson Valley near Great Barrington to “improvise the soundtrack,” an offer I feared but could not possibly resist. I had been to her home once before with Rachel Drehmann - we were in Great Barrington playing with Ken Cooper’s Berkshire Bach Festival - and after dinner (amazing!), Sheila took us up to her studio and proceeded to beat, ring, clang and sing her impressive collection of Tibetan singing bowls for about an hour. She wanted to know what would happen when the horn and bowls played together, and it was with this vision in mind that she asked me to come and stay for three days and make a soundtrack.
I am no wilting violet here but I have to admit, trying to keep up with Sheila’s work pace is exhausting. We’re about 20 years apart but her energy level is so high, I often forgot that I was the chronologically younger one. She’s a morning person; rehearsal would start at 6:00AM, which I pushed back to 6:30 because I had to “warm-up,” a concession she made graciously. We’d play for a few hours then go for a brisk 45-minute walk in the hills near her home. Breathless might be an appropriate word to describe our pace, and yet somehow we were able to converse. I loved her stories about studying abroad with Karkoschka and Ligeti. Sheila filled me in on her new opera, “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” which is slated for premiere with the Seattle Opera. She told me about asking Khaled Hosseini for the rights, getting her Guggenheim Fellowship and traveling to India to study Hindustani music. She was immersed in this sound world and spoke at length about instrumentation, how to be true to the spirit of this music, and when to abandon the form and be true to her Western setting of the piece. At times she would tear up talking about the Hosseini story and the hardships faced by the women in Afghanistan. I was working on a book about my adoptive family. (It’s been released this month - see the link at the end of this article. -Ed.)
The Horn as Voice of Sorrow and Reconciliation
By Bruce Richards
Nearly 15 years ago, I came across an album by the Southern Cross Soloists from Australia. (Peter Luff, horn) The album, Song for the Shadowland, featured music by Paul Stanhope. The title piece is a four movement work for soprano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano. This includes four settings of aboriginal poems by Oodgeroo Noonuccal. The first, second and fourth movements are sung, but the third is a solo for horn entitled Interlude. This solo horn piece was so successful that Paul Stanhope published it separately under the title Dawn Interlude.
Here is an excerpt of the description that Stanhope gives to the solo:
“This piece is in some ways a commentary on Oodgeroo's poem Dawn Wail for the Dead but also, in its own way, a personal gesture of sorrow for past wrongs perpetrated against Indigenous Australians.”
A video interview with Australian composer Paul Stanhope by Bruce Richards (with French subtitles):
Used with kind permission by the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgium
Call for Nominations to the IHS Advisory Council (AC)
Deadline is fast approaching! Please send your nominations by December 1, 2019!
Nominations for the election to the Advisory Council’s three-year term of office, beginning after the 2020 Symposium and ending after the 2023 Symposium must be received by the Executive Director before December 1, 2019. Nominees must be members of the IHS and willing to accept the responsibility of the position. Nominations must include the nominee’s name, address, telephone number, email address, written consent, and a biographical sketch of not more than 150 words. Nominations by mail, fax, and email are acceptable; consent must originate from the nominee.
Myron Bloom Tribute
by Ellen Dinwiddie Smith
Like many of the young musicians of my generation, I was inspired by the Cleveland Orchestra recordings conducted by George Szell. Soon I began hearing the name Myron Bloom and words like "legendary" being used in connection with those recordings. At that point in my life, I had not heard many orchestras 'live', but in 1982, I did have the opportunity to hear L'Orchestre de Paris when they played in Austin, Texas. Luckily, Myron Bloom was playing first horn on that evening's performance of Brahms Symphony #3. The beauty of his sound, the inevitability of his phrasing and the sheer musicality that his playing embodied drew me in and I immediately made it my goal to study with him. Thankfully, Myron accepted me as a student and became my teacher and mentor first at the Juilliard School and then at the Curtis Institute of Music. Perhaps because my father was a West Point graduate and Lieutenant Colonel, Myron's no-nonsense communication style worked for me. Many of his 'barked' commands remain seared into my memory: "Prepare the sound! Play the phrase! Connect the notes! Rhythm!" He often made short exclamations and expected one to immediately follow them. He was demanding but always with the goal of making great music. It should not go unmentioned that I was not treated differently because I was a female horn player. There were several young women in the studio, and his teaching style did not change. He was incredibly respectful of his female students but did not pull any punches. Being true to the music was the most important thing.
Myron taught me that I was indeed a musician (not just a horn player!) and opened my ears to intensive listening. If it didn't sound good it couldn't be right! He set the bar high. We talked about musicians he admired and recordings that he loved. One summer at the Waterloo Festival in New Jersey, I was privileged to play alongside him. His rhythm astounded me - he was a rhythm machine! As my time as a student came to an end, I kept in touch with Myron (and got to start calling him that, or Mike, instead of Mr. Bloom). I enjoyed getting to know his wife Susan and visited several times over the years. We spoke about articles in the New York Times, David Brooks columns, the death penalty, the nature of true genius - things we hadn't covered in lessons. I continued learning as I watched him live with dignity and integrity. His dear wife Susan Moses kept in touch whenever something new was going on with his health, and for that I'm thankful. Myron Bloom was loved for his heavenly sound, and it is my hope is that he found the perfect horn in heaven. He deserves nothing less.
Help us improve our website
We Want to Hear from You! As a valued community of horn players, we want to hear what you think about our website (www.hornsociety.org). Your feedback from this brief survey will help us improve our current site and better serve your needs.
Complete the survey by Friday, December 20, 2019 for a chance to win one of these gifts:
A copy of Richard Watkin’s CD “The Romantic Horn”
Myron Bloom Tribute
by Philip Myers
I had the opportunity to study with Mr. Bloom at the Blossom Music School during the summer sessions of 1970 & 1971. It changed my life. Up until that time I was consumed with the difficulties I was having on the horn. He helped me learn to think and listen to music without filtering it through the technical issues of the horn. This I had never done.
If I could attribute the main thought I got from him, it was the inexorable march forward of a phrase. This idea that most of the time music is moving forward, not falling away, has so many ramifications that present themselves to the curious that I have spent the last fifty years trying to realize them.
At the time I studied with him he had an absolutely unique teaching style. In my mind it could be described as “defender of music and the phrase”. When I played for him I felt like he was literally protecting the purity of his ideas from what I was doing. And he should have been as I had no idea what I was doing.
Not to be sacrilegious, but to me “he spoke as one having authority”. I had no doubt from the moment he began to teach me that he knew something connected to a greater knowledge that I wanted desperately to know - and he did share it.
He knew precisely what he liked and what he did not, but I always felt he was a very realistic and humble man, and with me as a student, very open. I heard him play about 40 live concerts and have every recording of his that I can find. To this day, if I think about a piece that he recorded or that I heard him play live, in my head I hear him playing it, his idea, not my own.
The International Horn Society announces an opening for the position of Publications Editor
The Publications Editor oversees the preparation, content, and publication of all International Horn Society publications, including all print and digital publications. For more information and to apply please visit: hornsociety.org/publications-editor. Application deadline is December 31, 2019.
Holiday Horns New England
New Hampshire: Saturday 7 December (Plaistow, NH)
Come play in New England's ONLY mass horn choir events this Christmas season. Join us in New Hampshire on Dec 7 or in Boston on Dec 8....or both! All ages and abilities are welcome. No competition, no stress, just a day of fun horn choir, all ages playing all together. Ugly / festive sweaters & decorate your horn, prizes will be awarded! To participate in the White Elephant gift exchange: $5 buy in or donate a baked good.
Please register for either (or both!) dates here: https://forms.gle/hYhX7KPxAg2JDfXp6
November Trivia Contest
If you answer all three questions correctly, you will have the chance to win one of three prizes (also courtesy of Ken Pope): 1 $20 voucher and 2 $15 vouchers for his online shop.
Tocando el Corno Primero de la introducción del poema sinfónico de Richard Strauss, Ein Heldenleben (La vida de un héroe)
Phillip Farkas (1914-1992) fue corno principal en las orquestas de Chicago, Boston y Cleveland, profesor en Indiana University, autor de tres libros y uno de los fundadores de la International Horn Society.
por Philip Farkas
(Traducido por Keith Eitzen y Jana Elizabeth Navarro Antuna)
Ha sido mi mayor fortuna (?) el haber tocado la mayor parte de composiciones de Richard Strauss con algunos de los llamados grandes expertos en dirigir Strauss (¡algunos se autodenominan!) Y me han brindado, pienso yo, algo de información sobre el desempeño de estas obras.
Dado que la apertura de Ein Heldenleben se encuentra muy a menudo en las listas de audiciones para vacantes de corno (y con razón, ya que nos dice mucho acerca de la capacidad del ejecutante, todo en el tiempo de unos 30 segundos), me gustaría relatar algunas de las sugerencias hechas por varios conductores en cuanto a cómo tocarlo. ¿Dije "sugerencias"? No, eran órdenes, no sugerencias. Estos comentarios son la recopilación de detalles de varios directores: Frederick Stock (un estudiante de Strauss), George Szell, Rafael Kubelik, Fritz Reiner, Karl Böhm, Otto Klemperer y Bruno Walter. Ninguno de ellos me dio todas estas "sugerencias", pero he tratado de recordar e incluirlas todas o la mayoría en una sola interpretación cohesiva. Aunque habrá una cierta variación en los tempos tomados por diferentes conductores, un buen tempo promedio sería la negra= 116. Tal vez el tempo para estudiarla debería ser algo más lento que esto, pero tarde o temprano el tempo se debe aumentar al menos hasta que la negra sea= 116. Ahora consideremos la dinámica correcta para este pasaje virtuoso de apertura. A menudo uno lo oye tocando fortississimo, salvaje, tosco y extremadamente rudo. Strauss, quien ciertamente sabía todo lo que hay que saber sobre la notación musical, escribió la primera marca dinámica como forte, UN SOLO forte. Además, solo permitió que se tocara por un corno, con la excepción de las primeras cuatro notas, que tenía el segundo corno doble, sin duda para reforzar el registro bajo del primer corno. Podría tener los ocho cornos (incluso a veces están nueve cornos en la sección) tocarlo fortississimo (fff). Strauss usaba a menudo fff, como podemos ver en el número 10 en la puntuación.
IHS 2020 in Eugene, Oregon
Welcome to the heart of the Pacific Northwest, home of the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance and host of the 52nd annual International Horn Symposium
Our symposium theme is “The Healthy Horn”
Come to IHS 52 to be inspired by breathtaking concerts from internationally renown horn virtuosi, to meet artisan horn makers from around the world, to attend master classes and presentations from experts in many fields, and to explore all aspects of horn health
Your Horn and More IHS E-newsletter team:
International Horn Society