Minimalist horn etudes

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Years ago a friend pointed me toward Glassworks, the great 1982 album by the minimalist composer Philip Glass.

Subsequently, in my horn teaching I have been struck over the years that there are a number of horn etudes that sound like they were composed in the style of Philip Glass, but are from the 19th or early 20th century. They certainly at least can be played in that style, as if one of the voices in the ensemble on Glassworks.

What the composers actually wanted and were thinking was probably something completely different; I have always guessed that they really wanted them played freely like a Bach cello suite. At the same time, though, played like a machine, they really are passable minimalist works. And, at a minimum, it gives you an alternate way to practice these works.

As to specific examples, Kling #20 is one, but I would highlight especially among etudes I teach from frequently Maxime-Alphonse book 4 number 8, the middle section. You can play it like Bach, but also you can play it like Glass. It especially gets the sound if you repeat the bars each 2 or 4 times.

If I had unlimited time I would work out a recording or a work that incorporates this idea.

University of Horn Matters