It is with excitement and trepidation that I welcome 2022. Each new year gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future, whether with grateful hearts for what we have received (or survived!) or with new resolution and hope for better times ahead. We have had much to contend with in our world and my hope for all of us, as we continue to navigate these weird times, is that we can find ways to continue to support each other in life and in music.
I have been happy (or, more accurately, relieved!) to hear so many positive responses about International Horn Society: The First 50 Years, that this book celebrating the first half-century of the IHS has been more than expected. When I opened the very first copy, I was reminded of the first recording I ever released, a collection of 19th-century pieces on natural and early valved horns called Musique de salon in 1995. I remember the excitement of receiving the copies of the recordings and handing one to the first person who actually bought one. This was immediately followed by a feeling of fear bordering on horror—by providing an edited recording of myself to someone who would actually listen to it, I immediately changed the expectations that person would have the next time they came to one of my performances. (Yikes! Edited recordings are a double-edged sword!) When I opened the first advance copy of the actual book, my eyes filled with tears, first in happiness in how beautiful it turned out, and then in horror as I found a typo I had missed… (I’m not telling!) Don’t worry, there have been many more happy-tears than typo-tears!
I appreciate the trust that the IHS Advisory Council placed in me for this five-year project, and am grateful for the overwhelming support I received from so many people who contributed photos, stories, editorial advice, and so much more. I am particularly grateful to Greg Cohen for his artistic direction in designing the book, to the contributors, most notably William Melton, for their work, and to our business partners who bought advertising space for their willing, even enthusiastic, support. These and many others helped to make this loving tribute more than it would have been otherwise. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, don’t worry we have plenty!
In that same spirit of excitement and hope (but hopefully no typos!), this New Year’s issue of Horn and More includes an update on the life and times of Charles Gavin, some candid encouragement from Eric Reed in the Pedagogy Column, and Rick Seraphinoff introduces us to his new historical novel, Corno da Capo.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you, and I wish you good chops as we look ahead to 2022.
This volume commemorating the 50th anniversary of the International Horn Society is presented in a format befitting such a celebration. The book combines photos and other visual aspects found in coffee table books with narrative historical accounts of the formation of the society and its activities over its first half-century. The book has a faux leather cover and 246 full color pages, covering all workshops and symposia, publications, commissioning programs and projects, scholarships and other programs, and a look at the people that make up the IHS community. A special section for our business supporters is also included. This wonderful celebration of the IHS has a price of $75 (no money is required up-front). Shipping charges will be added based on location/address, and you'll receive an invoice directly from the IHS for payment. Order your copy now!
Transitions: The New Journey
by Charles Gavin
The retirement receptions have been held, the gold watch presented (or in my case, a much more thoughtful remembrance of a gift card to a local craft distillery), the last studio class and juries are done. You lock the studio for the last time and turn in the keys. Now what?
I have been asked to share some observations on the transition from what is likely the longest journey of our lives to the beginnings of the new journey. The decision to retire was made easier by the fact that my institution offered a generous “early separation” package; it was too good for me to turn down. While I am yet in the beginnings of the transition from forty-years in academia to retirement, I have found some of the routine to be quite familiar, but other aspects do require adjustment.
One “re-invention” can be defined by paraphrasing the lyrics of a song by the band Chicago: Time: Does anybody really care about time? Indeed time, or the sudden freedom from the constraints of a schedule, was initially a challenge. As a musician and professor, I have found life is very much schedule-driven: all the time devoted to hours of practicing and listening; rehearsals marked by the clock in the wings of the stage; lessons and classes dividing our lives into sixty-minute segments.
Suddenly, that schedule-driven lifestyle does not exist. This new freedom was a bit of a shock! No more daybreak individual practice routine, no more early morning group warm-up, the day no longer neatly contained in those hour boxes. What should I be doing? Is “recreational reading” before evening hours really allowed? Why did I feel like I was wasting time enjoying a morning walk with my dogs on a beautiful fall day?
It is certainly different for all; the struggle...
Most horn players have some kind of scale routine which is established early in serious study then developed and expanded throughout the playing career. The download below is an organizational tool that can be used with any routine, from the foundational one-octave major scales, to folk- and hymn-tunes in all key signatures, to the most advanced modes and jazz scales, or even—should one be so adventurous—to Nicolas Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. The applications are limited only by one’s imagination! Feel free to share this with your students and colleagues. MH
Click image to download pdf
Corno da Capo
by Rick Seraphinoff
Corno da Capo, the first historical novel written especially for horn players, is now available worldwide on Amazon. My intention in writing the book was to present all the current research into horn history and natural horn playing technique in a fun adventure story that will be enjoyable to read. You’ll get to meet the most famous horn duo of the 18th century, Johann Palsa and Carl Türrschmidt, as well as other prominent horn soloists like Beate Pokorny and Giovanni Punto, with guest appearances by Punto’s dog Hans-Joachim, Mozart’s dog Bimprel, (Mozart really did have a dog named Bimprel!) and a host of other composers, musicians, and historical figures. Horn players and all musicians interested in late 18th century performance practice can enjoy the fun and adventurous story while learning about a pivotal period of horn history and what it was like to be a court musician and traveling horn soloist at the time. The well-researched story is based on what we know about the actual lives of these prominent 18th century horn soloists – with a large dose of creative license. Documentation of their lives, historical notes, and a bibliography appear at the end of the book so that serious students of horn history can sort out fact from fiction.
Richard Seraphinoff is Professor of Horn at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. For nearly 40 years, Professor Seraphinoff has specialized in crafting and teaching instruments of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Is anyone feeling a little disoriented these days? not sure who you are, or which way is up? You’re not alone.
On April 2, 2021, a year into the pandemic that caused a major shift in the lives of all artists, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror of a cluttered practice studio and unexpectedly said aloud, “I feel like a horn player again.” This practice session had not contained any breakthrough aside from that one. I can’t remember what I was practicing or why. But when I saw myself in the mirror that day, my identity, or the way I saw myself, had changed from what it had been for many months prior.
Like many artists I know, I took long stretches of time away from the horn during the previous year. Practicing has never come easily to me, but during a time when I had little if nothing for which to practice, I struggled with motivation. Consequently, my identity as a horn player was up for debate. If I don’t play my horn in concerts, and if I’m not motivated to pick it up just for fun, how can I call myself a horn player?
During this time, like many people, I picked up many old pastimes and discovered some new interests. The list looks a lot like what you would imagine: sourdough, meditation, crossword puzzles, Netflix, etc. Playing horn did not make the short or even medium list, which was unusual and disorienting. I had been calling myself a horn player since age 10!
What does balance have to do with identity? I believe that the answer is in the things we choose to do with our time. The choices we make each moment of each day help determine our satisfaction with life. There is an adage with which many of us are familiar: “You are what you eat.” This is literally true, of course, and I would argue that, especially when it comes to our lives as functional musicians and members of society, we are what we do.
The entire IHS website is now available in eight languages in addition to the original English. To view the site in Chinese (traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese or Spanish, select the desired language from the dropdown just above the page title on the left side of the screen.
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