Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Horn Diary

I'm having the opportunity to play horn for a performance of the Fauré Requiem on Palm Sunday. We have two violins, two violas, a cello, a string bass and an organ, and, of course, the chorus. The harmonies are wonderful and the writing for the horn brings out the qualities I most love about it.

What I've come to realize is that one reason I so loved playing in the cantata at Christmas was playing horn with voices. Somehow, for me, playing with the chorus feels much more natural than playing in the community band. Maybe it's because I've sung so much and that part of the wonder of the horn is that it's so like the voice. Whatever the reason, blending the sound of the horn with the sound of the chorus is one of the most exhilarating musical experiences I've ever had.


  1. I suspect that part of it is that when you are playing in a band or orchestra, the horns are at the back. So all the sound is coming to you essentially from one direction. (I know that because of reflections it's not quite as simple as that, but you know what I mean.)

    But when playing with a choir, the singers are behind you while the rest of the orchestra is in front. So you are surrounded by sound in a way that you aren't normally.

    But it is also true that the horn sound and the choir sound do blend very beautifully!

  2. Jonathan - Thanks, I think you're absolutely right. I hadn't thought of it that way, but that's surely part of it. I think the another part of it might be how the timbres of the voices and strings and organ are more mellow than all the band instruments, which are so often thrown into their highest range.