The Beginning of a New Chapter

I was having a talk with a colleague and friend about how the job of a horn player has changed over the years.  When I was in school you were either a low horn player or a high horn player.  I realised that, today, students can’t really afford to specialise too much.  The number of jobs has dwindled enormously so “beggars can’t be choosers”.  You have to be able to do it all.   I am, and always have been, convinced that it is all a state of mind.  If you believe you are only a low horn player, you will be.

In the real world, composers have no qualms with giving the 2nd and 4th horns extreme parts, and I feel that complaining about it serves no real purpose.  Players complained that “The Rite of Spring” was too difficult, and now it is so standard to be almost banal (heaven forbid).  I agree that playing low horn for weeks on end will not be conducive to playing great high horn (and visa-versa).  It is because of these challenges that I am looking forward to my new role in the horn section.  Stepping down as first horn is going to be a big challenge, and I am hoping it will stimulate me in many ways.

*  New practice motivation

* Reconnecting with repertoire

* Improved playing

* Being a better teacher by understanding the whole “story” in a way that maybe I hadn’t before.

Total Horn

I am looking forward to a summer of not only low horn, but “Total Horn”. How to improve all aspects of my playing by better performing as a low horn. Opening my ears to new ways of listening (different priorities), sitting in a different chair (this is a big one psychologically, and acoustically), stop being a “leader” and becoming a “cheer”-leader.  

One of the reasons I mention the word “Total Horn” is that this summer I will be playing Penderecki’s Sextet for a chamber music festival. An example of a "total horn" composition. Cross-Training is all the rage, and for me it will not be any different.  I cannot ignore my low range any longer.  I will have to give equal time to both, and I have already started.

I want to specialise in being a "horn player” with no qualifiers.

© Bruce Richards 2012-2019