On Playing Berg


This fall for me a big challenge was learning the first horn part to the Berg Kammerkonzert (chamber concerto) for piano, violin, and winds. At first it was really slow going, I was not that “up” for it, the work is twelve tone and pretty difficult! What I have found though is the work and the music has grown on me. Working on it in rehearsals I realized that I had actually studied the work in a music history class during my MM studies and also many of the most awkward passages used the same notes, so once I got the patterns down it began to come easier.

So while there are still a couple impossible passages in the work (what was he thinking! No horn player can double tongue that low, etc.) most of it is in very good shape and I can actually whistle some of the melodies. The soloists sound great as well. So while it might have been more fun (and profitable) to be playing the Wagner series this week with the Phoenix Symphony (several of my former students are, at least), in the end this has been a good experience, one that I hope a number of people will also enjoy at ASU tonight.

University of Horn Matters