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Peter Lieberson

Publisher: AMP

Horn Concerto (1998)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
18 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Purchase CD
Programme Note
Peter Lieberson Horn Concerto (1998)
Composer Note:

I first got to know Bill Purvis around 1983 when he was a member of Speculum Musicae and played in a piece I composed for them called Lalita. Ten years later Bill played in King Gesar, my “campfire opera” for narrator and chamber ensemble. We became friends during a very enjoyable rehearsal period, performance at Tanglewood, and subsequent recording session. When he asked me to compose a concerto for him I readily accepted. I loved the purity and warmth of his tone and greatly appreciated the musical intelligence that informed his playing.

I remember when I wrote my Piano Concerto that I had many auxiliary ideas to the music I wrote for piano. These ideas concern the orchestra, specific instrumental groupings, the relationship of tempos throughout the piece, and, most of all, the transformation of my melodic and harmonic world. When I wrote my Viola Concerto, I found that such concerns fell away as I composed more directly, because the viola is a singing instrument. So too with the Horn Concerto.

I think of the horn as an instrument of the heart. Every time I began to reason in a conceptual way the Concerto seemed bogged down and I would begin again in a more intuitive way. Finally, I got the message that the Horn Concerto would be composed of more spontaneous gestures and always with a focus on the horn itself.

The horn takes on different moods and characters in the concerto; often lyrical but sometimes very dramatic and feisty, sometimes energetic and athletic.

— Peter Lieberson

  • Ensemble
    Odense Symphony
    Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano / William Purvis, horn / Michaela Fukacova, violoncello / Peter Serkin, piano
    Bridge Records:
Mr. Lieberson's work in particular could hardly have had a more fluent and generous first performance, and it justified the care. Written at the behest of William Purvis, who was the soloist, it offered him an essentially singing (sometimes dancing) role. He responded with silky tone, nothing brazen about it, and smooth, beautiful phrasing. His performance was a joy. Meanwhile his colleagues in the orchestra were relishing Mr. Lieberson's fine feeling for orchestral sonorities, his almost Stravinskian way of making an unusual chord sound absolutely right because of how instruments are selected and placed. The concerto, lasting about 15 minutes, is in two movements, or parts, as Mr. Lieberson prefers to call them, perhaps in order to point out that the piece is really in one movement with a break. After the break the music is generally faster and a touch jazzy, but the elegantly skipping line of development continues. The piece is a delight, and a gift to horn players everywhere.
Paul Griffiths , The New York Times,01/01/0001
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