Author: Snedeker, Jeffrey
Date published: February 1, 2012
From Editiondb, 7 Clarence Grove, Horsforth, Leeds UK LS18 4LA; editiondb.com.
Pour une Perte for horn and piano by Christopher Gough. edb 0702004, 2011, £6.50.
La Bise for horn and piano by Chris Garland. edb 0702003, 2010, £6.50.
These two short pieces for horn and piano are a nice contrasting pair. According to the edition db website, "Christopher Gough (b.1991) studies horn and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. Prizes which Christopher has won through his composition include the Music for Youth Composer's prize, the RNCM Young Composer for Brass band, and most recently, runner-up for the Associated Board international young composer's competition. Pour Une Perte [For a Loss] was written by Christopher as a salute to the loss of his twin brother..." This piece is poignant and expressive, and requires some careful pacing to bring out the professed sentiment. The overall range is c#-b[musical flat]'', and the range of dynamics is quite large, in keeping with the emotions involved, a mix of sadness and warm memories. I found the piece very striking, and look forward to performing it myself.
Chris Garland "began his studies on a battered Lidl instrument which sustained further damage when it fell off his bike. His playing improved when a new job allowed him to purchase a Holton H378 which seemed to play itself and inspired his works in this catalogue. A classical church music tradition underlies his joyful writing along with influences from bands such as the Beatles and Genesis. As a geologist, Chris has traveled widely in search of uranium, gold, and oil. Although he has not managed to find the lost chord, he has found happiness with his wife and two children..." La Bise (Breeze on the Lake) is light, even joyous, with a "robustamente" encouragement from the composer at the start. A slower, lyrical center section provides a calmer contrast, and a short recap of the opening material brings this piece to a rousing close. La Bise is a little easier technically, with narrower range and fewer overall technical challenges, but that only enhances its charm. Both of these would make nice recital pieces, even as a pair, to contrast larger, heavier works on a program. JS