The Sonata No. 1 for Horn and Piano was written in the fall of 2003. My intention was to write a lyrical piece that exploits the capabilities of the triple horn while being playable on the standard orchestral double. The range, encompassing more than three octaves, is considerable. In addition, there are several large leaps, especially in the second movement. One of my goals was to push horn technique along just a little. These are things we should know how to do, but are not considered “idiomatic” and are therefore not usually called for.
I wrote in the post avant garde new romantic style of composition that I hear so often as I play for motion pictures and television. Players will immediately notice that the range of the first movement is rather high. As a part of my effort to reflect modern expectations, this just grew out of what is possible and what I think is beautiful.
The first movement is in loose sonata form. No effort was made to follow common practice rules in terms of key relationships, but the general plan of theme A, theme B, development, and recapitulation is too useful musically to ignore.
The Second movement, Elegy, was conceived, in part, as a song when I was 17. My brother Allen died a month before his wedding in a car wreck. He was 19. This Elegy in his honor utilizes elements from a song I wrote after his death expressing the complicated emotions I felt at the time. Composing the Elegy was a highly emotional experience for me, as I faced life issues I had not looked at squarely for many years.
The Caccia is inspired, without a doubt, by the caccia in Verne Reynolds’ Partita. I used a loose rondo form. I want it to be wild and fun. Take it fast!
A prize winner at the 1996 McMahon International Solo Competition, Laurence Lowe has established a national reputation as a horn soloist, orchestral player, and teacher. He has been a soloist at five international horn workshops sponsored by the International Horn Society. Mr. Lowe has performed numerous recitals at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Orchestral and chamber music engagements have taken him to Europe, the Far East, Brazil, Mexico, Carnegie Hall, and the Blossom Festival in Cleveland.
Mr. Lowe studied with Don Peterson, principal horn of the Utah Symphony, David Krehbiel, then principal horn of the San Francisco Symphony, and Verne Reynolds, then professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music. He has held positions in the Veracruz Symphony (Mexico) and the Utah Symphony, and has toured with the St. Louis Symphony. Formerly Professor of Horn at Missouri University, he currently teaches horn and theory at Brigham Young University in Utah. Mr. Lowe has recorded extensively for motion pictures and television, and can be heard playing principal horn on many current motion pictures and television shows, including solo horn in Mannheim Steamrollers’ A Fresh Air Christmas video. His assignment at Brigham Young University includes performing with two exceptional chamber ensembles: the Orpheus Wind Quintet and the Brassworks Brass Quintet. Mr. Lowe is also principal horn of the Orchestra at Temple Square. His first solo CD, Four American Sonatas for Horn and Piano is available on Tantara Records.