Autumn Tour Number 1- Austria, Switzerland, Germany

Posted By on October 9, 2007

Tour Number One, in a series of three this Autumn, has proven to be quite a success. I made the journey down to Hörbranz in Austria, which is next to Bregenz for those who are familiar with that city‘s well-known opera festival on the lake, where I met up with the gentlemen of the American Horn Quartet. The occasion was a horn workshop organized by fellow horn player Andreas Schuchter. Mr. Schuchter teaches there at the regional music school and plays in the marvelous Symphonic Wind Orchestra of Vorarlberg. I call it marvelous, but this ensemble under the baton of Mr. Thomas Ludescher could hold its own against just about any wind band I have ever heard! And we were booked to play the Schumann Konzertstück with them (a very good arrangement, by the way). The band also performed the second movement of my work for wind orchestra entitled “Portrait of Puccini”. Masterclasses were also on the weekend agenda as well as a run-out concert to Kufstein, Austria.

Following the concert in Kufstein, I met up with my wife, Kristina, who had been performing with the Ni Ensemble up in Nürnberg. The two of us made our way over to Winterthur, Switzerland for stage two of the tour. I had 4 days in Winterthur to begin creating the fourth movement of the symphony I have been working on this past year. As you may have read, the symphony revolves around the four elements of the legendary Holy Grail, and this movement was too be about the Paten-The Disc-Autumn-Earth-Sir Gawain. Kristina was of invaluable service, helping me to assemble various references on the internet and finding books on the subject at various antique book shops in the old town of Winterthur. And I did indeed make a lot of progress on the piece. I stopped at the mysterious “Grail Procession” which is a key factor in Sir Gawain‘s (or Parzifal‘s, depending on which version your prefer) character in the story. It‘s a twelve-tone section which is in stark contrast to the otherwise tonal nature of the symphony.

On October 5th, I met up with David Johnson and the two of us moved on to the next part of this little tour. Those most curious lads of the AHQ were booked to give masterclasses and perform a recital at the weekend horn workshop in Überlingen, Germany (see blog from October 8th for a review). This event was organized by an old friend of mine, Ralf Ochs. Five student horn quartets of varying levels rotated from one AHQ member to the other where they were coached on the fine art of horn quartet playing. The AHQ recital was on Saturday night and the student concert took place on Sunday in the beautiful palace museum on top of the hill overlooking Überlingen and Lake Constance.

All in all, it was a very productive and artistic nine days. Now comes Tour Number Two: Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg does Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. I shall be playing first on the first half of these concerts and third on the beautiful Brahms Haydn Variations, and thus be free during the Sibelius symphony to practice for Tour Number Three: Kristina Mascher, Kyle Turner, Lauretta Bloomer and I tour the USA coast to coast. And I get one evening to do laundry and repack for that tour!

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