Random Monday: A new Search Engine, plus other Sundries and Persiflage


Updated search engine
Horn Matters to-date houses over 1,900 articles. With a little digging around in the Archives it has been fairly easy to find specific topics of interest without too much bother.

However, that process just got a whole lot easier with the recent implementation of a Google Custom Search engine. I am positively giddy at how fast and accurate the results are, and also, the number of options available.

Here, try it out:

Audition lists resource
At hornexcerpts.org, the huge collection of audition lists compiled by Columbus Symphony hornist Julia Rose has been resurrected and can once again be accessed. If you are a horn player auditioning for orchestral positions, this might be an excellent resource for you to investigate.

A tip for conductors
If you are a guest conductor in a host town, it is probably not a fabulous idea to tweet something negative about that city.

Scottish-born conductor Douglas Boyd, who led the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall on Thursday night and Friday morning, ruffled a few feathers earlier this week when he tweeted some disparaging remarks about his host city.

“I’m in scary Detroit with @DetroitSymphony. Fine orchestra Managed to walk to a restaurant without a hint of being murdered.”


Horn of plenty
Listen to an entire Brahms Horn Trio –

  • John Zirbel, horn
  • Gil Shaham, violin
  • Orli Shaham, piano

– at the National Public Radio (NPR) web site.

The accompanying article suggests that perhaps Brahms had a valved-horn in mind for this composition.

Actually, the jury is still out on which type of horn Brahms preferred for his beautiful trio, which was premiered in Zurich on Nov. 28, 1865. This is the territory of sleuthing musicologists.

George Bozarth, professor of historical musicology at the University of Washington, points out evidence to support both sides of the story. For one thing, Bozarth says, we know the name of the horn player who performed in the premiere, but we do not know which type of horn he played.

Bozarth says that some scholars feel Brahms intended the valve horn right from the start because one can see that “he wrote a number of passages in the autograph score that were not idiomatic for the natural horn.” Then, at some point later, Brahms revised them to be playable on the instrument.

Another camp, Bozarth says, proposes that in the beginning Brahms wrote for the natural horn, “but did not fully appreciate what would and would not work on it until he heard a trial performance. Then he made the necessary changes.”


‘Free to be you and me’ celebrates 40 years
Although this is not directly horn-related, the 40-year mark has passed for a recording that influenced a generation of children in public school music classes. Free To Be You and Me was a landmark in that it promoted the examination of gender stereotypes and barriers in American society.

Forty years after its 1972 release, Free To Be has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and for a generation of kids—my generation—was a cultural and social touchstone, played not just at home, but at countless schools where its anti-sexist storytelling was eagerly adopted by progressive teachers and administrators.

A 1974 book based on the record became a best-seller; its accompanying TV special got better ratings than Gunsmoke and won an Emmy and a Peabody.


A new site for Sarah Willis
Berlin Philharmonic hornist Sarah Willis has a new, spiffy web site. There are a number of very interesting features including live interviews with celebrities in the brass world.

Along with her web site is a YouTube channel, interestingly called hornmatters.

Another site, on embouchure recovery
Denver Dill is a trumpet player who overcame orbicularis oris injury, surgery, rehabilitation. He performs today as a professional in the New York area and his web site promotes the publication of his book, Still Playing, My Journey through Embouchure Surgery and Rehabilitation.

Random pictures

What periodicals I am reading
My magazine, newsletter and journal subscriptions are much more slimmed down than in previous decades. Most of my reading these days is done online or in some kind of tablet form, and so what periodicals I have get relegated to the reading room.

Listed from top to bottom:

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A new toy
Temptation got the better of me over the weekend and I purchased a cheap piccolo horn on eBay. More will be written about it later, but here is the stock image that came with the purchase. At worst I am expecting a nice wall ornament, and at best I am hoping for something to use for practice sessions in a parked car.

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Random videos

Highlights from a recent Sarah Willis masterclass.

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Philip Myers (principal horn in the New York Philharmonic) shares a tidbit about cadenzas.

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Another superb production from Marc Papeghin.

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When I was a young student, this recording of Barry Tuckwell performing the second Cherubini sonata was a favorite. After branching out from Mozart and Strauss concerti, this concerto was the next foray into solo repertoire.

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University of Horn Matters