Concertino for Horn and String Orchestra – Stephen Chatman
Andrew Clark, horn
When the Vancouver Island Symphony, Pierre Simard, artistic director, suggested that I compose a concerto for the world-renowned French horn player, Andrew Clark, I was delighted and grateful for the wonderful opportunity. My 11-minute Concertino for Horn and String Orchestra was completed in 2016. Given the extraordinary talents of Andrew Clark, the work is virtuosic. In the early stages of the compositional process, Andrew and I met to discuss the nature of the work, specifically, ideas for the horn solo. Andrew provided what he called Hornisms—his own written glossary of virtuosic licks or techniques that he thought would be appropriate and effective. These techniques include “wiggles”, tremolos, lip trills, glissandi and “slidey scales”! Although specific advice from a soloist to a composer is somewhat unusual, I became truly excited at the prospect of incorporating these highly idiomatic and impressive “hornisms” in my work. In fact, the three movements display virtually all of Andrew’s suggested gestures and techniques. The result is a lyrical middle movement (II. Elegy) between two energetic fast movements (I. Dance and III. Ascendance). One unifying idea in the work is the upward glissando, particularly effective on the horn. For example, the last gesture of the piece, a long three-octave glissando, is a world record! Another feature is the various muted horn passages. The function of the string orchestra is not only an accompaniment but also a vital supportive force and crucial element in the development of musical content.
One of Canada’s most prominent composers, Vancouver composer STEPHEN CHATMAN has received many composition awards, including 2005, 2006 and 2010 Western Canadian Music Awards “Outstanding Classical Composition,” 2010 and 2012 SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award, three BMI Awards, multiple JUNO nominations, and the Charles Ives Scholarship. In 2012, Dr. Chatman was appointed to the Order of Canada. His works, published by ECSPublishing, Boosey & Hawkes, E.B. Marks, Oxford University Press, Frederick Harris and earthsongs, have sold 500,000 printed copies. Dr. Chatman’s choral pieces “are in wide demand in North America” (Historical Dictionary of Choral Music); his orchestral music has been commissioned by the CBC Radio Orchestra, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary symphonies and performed by the BBC Symphony, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Montreal, Sydney, Seoul, San Francisco, Winnipeg, Quebec, St. Louis, Calgary, Detroit, Dallas, and New World symphonies. He is professor of composition at the University of British Columbia. www.drstephenchatman.com
After 24 years working as a musician based in London, England, ANDREW CLARK moved to British Columbia in 2010. The following year he joined Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra as principal horn. Prior to this he held principal horn positions in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Classical players and Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and had teaching positions at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a soloist he has recorded for EMI, Hyperion, Archiv and Linn including the premiere of the Sonata da Caccia by Thomas Adès, horn concertos by Vivaldi and Crusell, and chamber works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Czerny.
Since 2002, Andrew has trained in brass instrument manufacture and now builds several instruments each year. Many of his instruments are used by leading players in some of the worlds’ finest orchestras. One day soon he hopes to have time to make one for himself! www.naturallyhorns.co.uk