Twilight Music (for horn, violin, and piano) gives me renewed and intensified pleasure each time I play it. The first time was on Cape Cod in 1987, without the benefit of support from the composer that I had in 1995, the first time I played it with Rose Mary Harbison and Judith Gordon. The collaboration last spring with these performers and with the composer laid the groundwork for more in-depth work this spring.
Parts of the work look quite simple to play, and the third movement is not too difficult. The second movement, however, precipitated a fax to Engelbert Schmid requesting he rush my new horn over, as his valves are quite fast and the slurs are very clean. I was not disappointed; the horn arrived three weeks before the concert, and it felt as though I had traded my luxury Mercedes for a Ferrari.
The piece is not easy to play, nor is it easy to put together, but it pays back the effort to learn. It is quickly becoming a classic of the trio literature, a literature we are planning to expand with a new trio by Yehudi Wyner. The Wyner will be premiered concurrently world-wide in Dec. 1997 by a consortium of players.
[The Harbison trio is published by G. Schirmer and has been recorded by the American Chamber Players, Anthony Cecere, horn, at the Library of Congress.]
Jean Rife is principal horn of Boston Baroque and on the faculties of NEC, MIT, and Longy. She is well-known for her pioneering work on the natural horn, for her interpretations of contemporary music, for her yoga teaching, and for her recitals in Boston and around the world.
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