Mid-South 2011 Part II: Shopping, Britten, and Schumann

- - Please visit: Wichita Band Instrument Company - -

Moving on to Saturday, the day was fairly packed with interesting sessions and concerts. I started my day though by testing horns for a bit. You could easily catch a bad case of “horn lust” at this event as there are I would estimate over 100 new horns to try in the instrument vendor room. I tried several that I had never before tried including custom horns by Daren Sorely and Wes Hatch and also the Ion Balu horn with his innovative “liquid double-wall leadpipe.” For those wondering about this, the sales literature describes it as “basically a Balu leadpipe encased in an exterior tube” and with liquid filling the space between the tubes. On first tests the results are quite interesting. As these details have undoubtedly caught the interest of some readers, check his website for more information, which is the source of the photo linked below.

This time around my own purchases were somewhat limited to one CD and sheet music; the CD For You by David Griffin, two trios for oboe, horn, and piano (one by Verne Reynolds and the other by Adolph Blanc, sold by Prairie Dawg Press), the Meditation for horn choir by Randall Faust (Faust Music), and a find I was especially excited to see, the Etudes for Horn by Paul Basler. I will be using these in lessons, was very surprised to find that these were not new and have been in print since 1998 (RM Williams), and will follow up at some later time in Horn Matters.

The “evening” concert was at 6:00 PM which actually was a bold and great move for the host as it left the evening much freer than usual for a horn event. First up was studio horn legend James Thatcher. In the intro it was mentioned that he has played on more than 2,600 motion pictures, and it was great to hear him live performing a really great work, the Britten Serenade, with his son Michael Thatcher as the tenor soloist with the KU Symphony Orchestra. I don’t recall ever hearing this work performed at a horn workshop and it really should be performed more often, it is certainly one of the best things ever written for the horn.

The second half was the Schumann Konzertstuck admirably performed by members of the Kansas City Symphony horn section (Albert Suarez, David Sullivan, Elizabeth Schellhase, and Steve Multer), again with the KU Symphony Orchestra. This was another treat to hear live, and it is great when hosts can feature members of orchestras from the area at horn workshops.

As equipment was a thrust of the beginning of this report I will close there again; Thatcher played the Britten on a descant horn and Suarez led the Konzertstuck section on a descant as well. They are not often studied by advanced horn students but really should be, and hopefully some students will at least test the ones out for sale in the vendors room tomorrow after seeing them on stage today.

The event closes on Sunday, be watching for a final update on the event late that day.

University of Horn Matters