Feuerwerksmusik/Marche, Der Nussknacker, op. 71a

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Publication: The Horn Call
Author: Snedeker, Jeffrey
Date published: February 1, 2012

Feuerwerksmusik by Georg Friedrich Handel, arranged for 8 horns and tympani by Peter Damm. BU 1250, ISMN M-50146-224-7, 2009, 28euro.

Marche, Der Nussknacker, op. 71a, by Peter Tchaikowsky, arranged for 8 horns by Peter Damm. BU 1256, ISMN M-50146-602-3. 2010, 22euro.

First is a nice new arrangement of Handel's famous Music for the Royal Fireworks. All six movements are present, transposed to F. The overall range is F to c''', and strong high and low players will be needed. The workload is split 3 (high) + 3 (middle) + 2 (low), with the top three parts staying in the mid- to upper register, and the bottom two staying in "old" bass clef the whole time. If you have players that can handle the ranges, this arrangement will be very enjoyable and satisfying to play. My university students had a good time with these movements, but we did need to trade around a bit on the upper parts to save chops.

In a similar vein, we also liked this new arrangement of the March from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Laid out in a similar way (3 + 3 + 2), the range is a little easier (G-g''), but the ensemble challenges are a little more fun, as the various sixteenth-note runs have been divided up among different parts. We also found this very playable, and had a good handle on it by the second reading. Both of these pieces lend themselves well to arrangements for ensembles of horns. Thank you, Peter! JS

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