Son of Till was written as a showcase piece for the virtuoso hornist. The title implies a humorous link to the celebrated figure in German myth, Till — a rambunctious, likable prankster (also, references to other famous “offspring” in popular culture, namely Son of Frankenstein and Son of Godzilla). The first movement is primarily concerned with a quick ascending gesture that travels through the better part of the horn’s range. Arioso Dreams conjures up images of nightmares, illusions and a demented form of Chinese water torture in which a single, short note (E-flat) appears regularly, sending the performer into even greater fits of demented athletic activity. The last movement “celebrates” our obsession with power tools, process music (minimalism) and mindless virtuosity for its own sake. Special effects abound throughout the work, including flutter tonguing, stopped horn and half-valve glissandi. Son of Till is dedicated to William Capps, one of Basler’s primary horn mentors and another possible “offspring” connection (the dreaded Son of Bill!).
Paul Basler (b. 1963, Milwaukee), 1993–94 Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Music at Kenyatta University (Nairobi, Kenya), 1995–96 University of Florida Teacher of the Year and the 2001–03 College of Fine Arts University of Florida Research Foundation Professor is Professor of Music at the University of Florida where he teaches horn and undergraduate composition courses and has been a member of the faculty since 1993.
Basler has performed as guest artist at numerous international music festivals and has been a member of the Brevard, Charleston, Valdosta, Greenville, Asheville, Tallahassee and Gainesville Symphonies. He has received several American Cultural Affairs Specialist Grants from the U.S. Department of State and has served as Visiting Professsor with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture and the National Conservatory of Music. One of the most performed composers of his generation, his music has been performed throughout the world and recent compositions have received performances at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Spoleto Festival, Symphony Hall in Chicago, the Kennedy Center, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House, the Aspen Music Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival and in China by the Shanghai Philharmonic. He received his BM degree magna cum laude from the Florida State University, MM, MA, and DMA degrees from Stony Brook University. Basler’s horn teachers have included William Purvis, William Capps and Barry Benjamin and his composition teachers have been John Boda, John Downey, Bülent Arel, John Lessard and Billy Jim Layton.