Synthesizing traditional Chinese music elements with contemporary vocabulary of Western music, Sonata for Horn and Piano shows the diversity of today’s music. The work, with three movements in a fast-slow-fast scheme, balances expressional and accessible melody with idiomatic and innovative craft for horn. The beginning phrase of the first movement, introduced by the horn, is important thematic material which is employed throughout the entire work. The middle part of the second movement is a passacaglia section where the piano keeps playing a descending melodic segment (with variations); finally, the horn joins the piano, playing the tune together, building to a big climax. In a fast tempo, with a cadenza, the third movement is challenging for horn. Continued ascending glissandos by the horn at the last moment make the ending wild and exciting.
This work won Wyoming’s ARTCORE Composition Competition in spring, 2005.
A native Chinese, Jianjun He received his B.A. in violin performance from Northwestern National University (Lanzhou, China), M.A. in music theory from The Arts Academy of China (Beijing, China), and D.M.A. in composition from West Virginia University where he studied composition with John Beall. His compositions, numbering over fifty for various media, are enjoying growing success in the United States and Asia. In addition to his musical creation, he has published several research papers dealing with compositional technique, ethnomusicology, and music education. He is a former faculty member at Ningxia Education Institute (Yinchuan, China), West Virginia University, Slippery Rock University, and Stephen F. Austin State University. Currently, Dr. He is on the faculty of Casper College where he teaches music theory and composition.