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Mark J. Ralph, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ralph of Preble

William Pearson William Pearson wpearso2@illinois.edu 518-495-1040

for Horn and wind quartet


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The horn’s indications are found in the box in the middle of the page. The staves, from top to bottom, indicate: Movement of the gaze towards the wind quartet and back to the page Page turning Speech and Breath Whistling (w) and humming Valve Movement Hand position in the Bell

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Up and Down arrows indicate highest possible or lowest possible pitch

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This page begins when the winds have finished P. 2

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The second theme has to do with my grandfather. An amateur horn player himself, he is the character being portrayed by the horn player in this work. In the last decade of his life, my grandfather was rendered unable to speak by a stroke, save for one word — “five”. The struggle to speak — or more generally, to express oneself — is of crucial importance to this work. For this reason, some of the horn part is impossible to perform in it’s entirety, particularly the final page. In these parts, it is the effort and the struggle that should be audible and visible and palpable, not any particular or consistent performance. — This piece has five pages. The first page is for horn, alone. The second page is for the wind quartet alone. The second page should begin halfway through the first page; they should overlap. The third page is for all performers, and begins when the wind quartet has finished the second page. The fourth page is for all performers, beginning with solo horn. The horn will begin the fourth page before the wind quartet is finished on page three, and has a bar that can be repeated as long as needed for the wind quartet to catch up. The fifth page is for horn, alone. Instrument-specific instructions follow.

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This work has two themes. The first has to do with interiority and exteriority. This is expressed in the staging of the work - the horn player should be center stage - ‘inside’, while the other four instruments should be (depending on the venue) either just off stage or grouped far away from the horn - ‘outside’. It is also expressed in the notation - the third page and the final page of the work have ‘interior’ or boxed-in elements, surrounded by ‘exterior’ elements. Most importantly, this theme is expressed in the contrasting representational approaches taken by the ‘inside’ horn and the ‘outside’ quartet. The ‘outside’ quartet create sounds which suggest wind, rustling, and distant (perhaps imagined) music. The horn soloist, in contrast, is playing a character. The actions taken by the horn player (turning pages, reading, making sounds, looking, etc) should be thought of as everyday actions, transformed only enough to fit the expressive dimensions of horn-performance.

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This page has an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’.

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***** The ‘inside’ rectangle tells the horn player where to direct their attention, and what parts of the ‘outside’ page to externalize. When everything is blacked out, everything (all four staves) should be played. This is impossible! But it should be attempted, and the struggle to do this is the important result. When there is a thick black line meandering around, this indicates which staves of the ‘outside’ material should be played. Again, the two staves here represent the four staves on the larger page. ;

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The ‘inside’ rectangle can be thought of as a map for the entire page — at half scale. One stave in the inside rectangle = two staves of the outside.

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The ‘outside’ has four staves: Singing Buzzing/Keying Speaking Bell Movement (with blown air to exaggerate, if possible)

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When there is a horizontal dotted line (as in the example to the left), nothing should be particularly externalized. Instead, the material for those sections should be ‘played’ internally. This may take the form of ‘miming’ this material. It is important that the horn player continues to play this ‘in their head’, and it is desirable if this internal performance is observable (ie: mouthing words, moving to rhythm, etc.)

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The horn player should choose 6 or 7 of the barred fragments and perform them intermittently throughout this page, following along with the wind quartet’s score. The horn player should move on to P. 4 when the winds are halfway through the last system.

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The horn player should not empty their horn until the very end of the work, which is indicated on page five with a large valve symbol. Any gurgling/popping that may occur as a result is desirable.

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Square noteheads indicate pitchless (or nearly pitchless) sound

Music in parentheses ( ) is to be played only on the repeat.

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Winds should begin P. 2 when the horn player first moves their valve, or at the start of the third system of P. 1.

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For Uncle Mark


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Mark J Ralph, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ralph of Preble  

For Horn and Wind Quartet. (2016)

Mark J Ralph, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ralph of Preble  

For Horn and Wind Quartet. (2016)

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