September Elegy: Classical Improv

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

After the tragic events of 9-11, I was moved to make an expression of grief in music. The result was “September Elegy” for natural horn (= no valves) in Eb and piano. There are 4 sections: Prologue, Chorale, Reflection, and Epilogue. Only the Chorale is written out; the rest are improvised, the limitation being the atmosphere or mood of the piece. I recorded the piece with Evan Mazunik in our CD “Repercussions.” It is published by Jomar Press and has enjoyed some modest popularity here and there among horn players brave enough to try some creative music (and who have a natural horn). Jeff Snedeker wrote about it in his article “The Natural Horn Today.”  I think what might be most interesting thing about it is making the performer the partner of the composer. The performers here are given credit for being able to make a lot of their own choices; thus, every performance is and should be different. I would love to see more composers dare to trust players enough to be partners. Or have players write their own pieces like this whether composers come through or not.

Below is a recording done by me and Evan Mazunik, piano ca. 2005. See what you think.


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