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ISSUE 118 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/1/2004

Chenoweth horns in

By Sharon Grawe
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 1, 2004

There's a new face on the French horn. Friday night's recital by University of Dayton professor and principal horn player Richard Chenoweth proved to a large audience of St. Olaf students that there is more to the French horn than they could ever have imagined.

No longer is French horn music just Mozart concertos and slow, lyrical lines. The subtle, romantic side of the horn has been traded in for a passionate and violent one that has come to the forefront of modern and contemporary horn solos.

With his brassy, edgy, American style, Chenoweths playing  at times  resembled that of French horn great John Cerminaro.

To open, Chenoweth performed Christopher Foerster's Concerto in E flat. Despite its roots in traditional music, Concerto in E flat defies many of the horn music norms of its era. It is a highly technical piece, one that showed off Chenoweths extraordinary upper range and demonstrated that the French horn has one of the largest ranges of any brass instrument.

Chenoweth switched gears a bit when he performed the horn player favorite Nocturno, Op 7 by Franz Strauss. Nocturno was the most traditional and most artistically sophisticated piece in the program, but it certainly did not yield to the stereotype of a soft, shy horn piece. Strauss' music allowed Chenoweth to express his superior dynamic range, as well as a variety of tones and tambers.

Variations (sur une Chanson Francaise), by Marcel Bitsch, was a combination of classical styles, more modern dissonances, muting and French horn rips. Variations was followed by Dana Wilsons Musings  An Ode to the Greek Muses  a piece that revealed the experimental side of horn music with a repeated, strumming accompaniment of piano strings.

A later movement, Thalia  Muse of Comedy showcased Chenoweths ability to scoop and slide in a trombone-like way for a carnival effect. Erato  Muse of Erotic Love employed the jazzy, seductive side of the horn.

Following Erato, the piece Clio  Muse of History required Chenoweth to play into the soundboard of the piano for an echo-effect that provoked quiet sighs of approval from the audience.

Chenoweth continued with a piece written in 2003 by a personal friend of his, Steven Witteregg. High Veld Sunrise was composed in a South African style that included a synthesized, pre-recorded accompaniment. While the piece included a few of the long, lyrical lines characteristic of French horn music, Witteregg nevertheless created an unusual setting for the horn through his composition.

Chenoweth chose to make his program extremely diverse in sound. I wanted to set an example of what a recital should be, with some traditional music, one French piece, one German, some modern music, some contemporary and something experimental, Chenoweth said. I also wanted to expose students to new forms of music.

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