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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Searching for Schubert

I wrote about playing at the 2010 Schubertiade in an earlier post titled Auf dem Strom, which is what we performed. It was an exciting, fun experience. So naturally when I received an invitation to submit a repertoire proposal for the 2011 Schubertiade, I wanted to apply. However, Schubert didn't write all that much for horn. He is, of course, best known for his songs, and he also wrote quite a lot of piano music.There are two octets that have horn parts, but I didn't feel that I had enough time to gather seven other musicians and rehearse before January 29, this year's Schuberiade.

I had pretty much given up the idea for this year, thinking that maybe for 2012 I would start earlier and get an octet together. I spurred to action by pianist Helen Raymaker who generously offered to play something with me, if I could find something. And so I went to imslp.org, the International Music Score Library Project and Petrucci Music Library. This is a wonderful resource, where you can find and print music that is in the public domain. I was able to search Schubert's works with horn and find ten pieces, excluding the symphonies, which have wonderful horn parts. As expected, Auf dem Strom and the two octets were on the list. The Octet, D. 72 is for the standard wind octet: two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns. It is apparently incomplete, having a Menuetto and Finale. (D. 72a is an incomplete Allegro movement.) The other Octet, D. 803, is for clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, cello and bass.

Then there is Eine Kleine Trauermusik, D. 79, for two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, two horns, and two trombones. Trauermusik is funeral music, so the mournful trombones and contrabassoon are logical instrumentation choices, though the combination of these nine instruments is unusual. There is also Nachtgesang im Walde, (Night Singing in the Forest), D. 913, for men's choir and four horns. Interesting music to investigate for the future.

Then there were five songs, D. 199, 202, 203, 204, and 205. These all have the indication "Fur zwei Singstimmen oder zwei Waldhorner." (for two voices or two horns) The first two are titled Mailied (May Song), and the others are Der Morgenstern (the Morning Star), Jagerlied (Hunting Song) and Lutzow's wilde Jagd (Lutzow's wild hunt). They are all quite short, but if sung, have a number of verses. My daughter and I tried them out and both of us and my husband thought they were charming and well worth playing, though technically they are not difficult.

So that is what I submitted as my proposal: 10 minutes of Schubert songs for horn duet that I hope to play with a friend. We will see if it makes it onto the program. There is a lot of competition and limited time. In any case, I look forward to attending the Schubertiade sponsored by Pianoforte Chicago, on January 29 at the Fine Arts Building in Chicago as an audience member. I have also decided that I don't know nearly enough about Franz Schubert, so it's time to start reading and learning.

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