Tocar Trompa e Divertido! (Horn Playing is Fun!), op. 74, for horn and piano by Ricardo Matosinhos.
Ricardo Matosinhos has produced a wide range of interesting compositions for horn over the past several years, and this particular edition is a wonderful contribution to the repertoire for the beginning player. As the composer says:
Getting started on the horn is something that can be fun, despite all the challenges that this instrument has to offer to its beginners.but how can playing horn be fun when we are talking about an instrument known as one of the most difficult ones to learn? ...
The simple answer is--use these pieces! Not only are the six pieces contained in this volume very playable, but they are truly fun! The first piece, "Just follow your fingers!," addresses the concern for just getting a sound on the instrument. In this piece, the student just uses the fingerings that are indicated and plays whatever notes they want. Meanwhile, the pianist plays three chords that correspond to the indicated tube lengths on the F horn (open, 1, 2+3). This is a great idea and, even better, the young player is encouraged to improvise on these fingerings on higher and lower notes, adding rhythms, articulations, and dynamics as they wish. The pianist can improvise a bit, too, encouraging a bit of conversation with the budding player.
"Cow's Waltz" takes full advantage of that wonderful "accident" of the half-valve, pushing the valve lever down partway. A simple melody of five notes (c'-g') is interrupted occasionally by a half-valve "moo", encouraging the student to do a little pitch-bending to learn more about lip control. The waltz idea adds to the fun, since "dancing a waltz is certainly the last thing you would imagine a cow to do ..." "The Elephant" encourages the student to explore airspeed with more dynamics, higher notes, and glissandos imitating elephant trumpeting. "The Desert Snake" has the student pretend their middle finger moving the second valve of the F horn is like the flicking of a snake's tongue, even including a trill. Faster notes and the use of notes from b to g' create "snaky" lines and exotic harmony that must be supported consistently to be effective. In "The Blue Train," the horn and the piano imitate the sound of a train. "The horn player begins by imitating the train speeding up, with quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes produced by blowing into the mouthpiece. Meanwhile the pianist is in charge of the train whistle, but soon afterwards, the horn also imitates the whistle." The horn player must remove the third valve slide and play through the tube to get the train whistle effect--so you get to take the instrument apart!!! Finally, "Honk your Horn!" doesn't use the third valve tuning slide either, this time using it to imitate a car horn. "This programmatic piece describes the story of a car on a trip. Suddenly, the driver begins to get impatient in a traffic jam, increases speed and suffers an accident, fortunately an ambulance arrives, also announced by the horn." The student is asked to accelerando and rallentando as the car proceeds on its trip, and then honk the horn at appropriate times.
I find this book to be wonderfully entertaining and pedagogically effective. It also shows that the mind of Ricardo Matosinhos is creative, fertile, and sensitive to the needs of young players in the same way his other works address a range of styles and techniques that horn players really need to expand their musical horizons in today's world. Matosinhos also has sample recordings of these pieces on the AvA Editions website. Lasting between 1:20' and 2:40', each of these pieces is appealing and playable, and I am not sure I can fully communicate how excited this collection makes me feel. This volume is not only musically attractive, but it is also decorated with fun illustrations drawn by his beginner students at the Academia de Musica de Costa Cabral, Oporto, Portugal. Tocar Trompa e Divertido!!! JS
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|Publication:||The Horn Call|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2018|
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