Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Brahms and the Natural Horn

Writing an email to my friend Ursula Mamlok this morning:

I imagined how sad Brahms must have been to behold the natural horn, an instrument he knew thoroughly and loved deeply, be so readily abandoned by musicians happy to have an easier way to find the right notes, even though those notes, however "right", in no way resembled the sound he had in mind when writing for this highly pitch-specific instrument.

Music sounds so simple.  The trouble is that the music-training establishment has fallen for that piece of nonsense almost more than the general public.  Students are expected to churn out the good stuff at breakneck speed--not just the speed of the actual playing but, even worse, the speed of accelerated learning that leaves no time for comprehension.

How different music is when the player, like the composer, has to account for every single sound.

How different one's sense of purpose is when that is the prevailing standard--how very much more satisfying!