Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This year I will be playing horn quartets with three friends, Nancy Orbison, Melody Velleuer, and Jennifer Souder. The organizers of the Schuberitade allow transcriptions and arrangements of Schubert, and so we will be performing "Holy, Holy, Holy," originally a choral piece, arranged for horns by Nancy Orbison; Marche Militaire, a piano solo; and Five Quartets arranged by Verne Reynolds. This last piece came from a set of six quartets, for which we chose five. Unfortunately, the publisher didn't include any information about where these pieces came from. I had guessed that they were originally choral pieces, in part because they are in four parts with somewhat distinct ranges. In addition, Schubert wrote a lot of choral music. I contacted Peter Kurau, horn professor at the Eastman School of Music and a former student of Verne Reynolds, to see if he had any information. His guess is that these were string quartets, though he passed the query along to one of the librarians at Eastman's Sibley Library, where the Verne Reynolds archive is kept. We haven't heard anything back yet. However, in this arrangement the pieces sound like they were always meant for four horns.
We played this program last Saturday at Art Wauk in Waukegan, Illinois. This was a fairly casual performance for people on a gallery walk, though it was a pretty cold night for strolling from gallery to gallery. The string quartet that played right before us stayed to hear our performance, so Nancy asked them if they recognized the Reynolds arrangement as a string quartet. None of them did.
We'll be presenting our program at 3:30 in Curtis Hall, on the 10th floor of the Fine Arts Building. My friend, tenor Henry Pleas, will be singing quartets with Salon at 5:00 in Studio 801, and my clarinetist friend, Howard Green, will be playing an arrangement of the "Arpeggione" Sonata with pianist Bill Crowle at 7:00 in Curtis Hall. The arpeggione is a mostly extinct instrument sometimes described as a bowed guitar or something similar to a bass viola da gamba. The sonata has been arranged for modern instruments, such as cello and, of course, clarinet. There are many other interesting performances on the schedule as well, including a cello version of the "Arppeggione."
If you decide to attend the horn quartet performance, please say hello afterwards. And if you know anything about the mysterious horn quartets arranged by Verne Reynolds, be sure to let me know!