The Horn Trill in Dvorak’s 8th Symphony

Following in the steps of my last post, here’s another nifty little eight bar passage—this one from the finale of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G, featuring the principal and second horns.  The movement opens with a modest trumpet fanfare introducing a series of pastoral variations in the strings, but then it’s off to the races at rehearsal letter C when Dvorak calls upon the entire ensemble to repeat the main theme. Continue reading The Horn Trill in Dvorak’s 8th Symphony

Clarity in Rachmaninoff’s Fourth Concerto

Rachmaninoff’s fourth piano concerto is one of these works that, together with the third symphony and the Symphonic Dances, represents the last stage of the composer’s musical output. This was his least prolific period of composition, and as well the period that is vastly less popular with concert-goers. The concerto itself has neither the pianistic showmanship of the third nor the thematic inspiration of the second Continue reading Clarity in Rachmaninoff’s Fourth Concerto

The Horn as Orchestral Descant

The term descant hearkens back to my youth as a choir boy, when my musical experiences were dominated by music of the church.  We sang a number of hymns and psalms, and our director would often select a small group of us to sing a descant — known to me then only as an aria-like soprano part above the rest of the choir. Continue reading The Horn as Orchestral Descant