Horn quartet a triumph in Tabernash; next concert Friday night | SkyHiNews.com

Horn quartet a triumph in Tabernash; next concert Friday night

Joan Shaw
Music review
Grand County, CO Colorado

Four horns? Car horns? Train horns? Trumpets? Concertgoers were confused. Fortunately most came to the Grand County Concert Series show having faith in our local committee.

The American Horn Quartet is comprised of four French horns and their players on tour. They had just performed concerts and workshops in Corvallis, Ore., Boulder and now Tabernash with plans to depart for Europe the next day. These American musicians reside in Germany and Luxemburg where they play in symphonies and ensemble groups while still enjoying performances throughout the world.

They opened the concert with music that “is loved worldwide” said their spokesman and resident composer, Kerry Turner.

“America” from West Side Story was the perfect music to introduce the group musically. Next a smooth rendition of “Maria” was followed by “Somewhere” and enthusiastic applause for the playing of the complex arrangements with impeccable timing and beauty.

The two selections by Bach were new experiences for many since four horns can play very clear moving themes and one can easily hear the complexity and interwoven genius of these compositions. This was an aural experience, not a visual one. The Quartet faced the audience in two rows and, even though one could see them clearly, it was nearly impossible to tell who was playing the melody

Kerry’s compositions delighted all who attended. He introduced all the complexities that a French horn can play in his piece “Fandango.” There were sound effects of rapid flutterings, trumpet voicing, dazzling fast passages and even laughter.

“I liked all the ups and downs I heard,” said 10-year-old William Delay, “but the best part was the jazz.” His enthusiasm was for the “Fripperies” by Lowell Shaw. These got a resounding applause from adults, too. Our local musician Roger Shaw is his brother and the prime mover in bringing the group here.

The encore of “The Saber Dance” was wild, dazzling perfection followed by a standing ovation. The quartet was impressive not only in their performance but the ability to play at high altitude. They had to work harder to make their instruments respond with less air but now they will put this accomplishment on their resume. Their final words to us were, “We loved your reaction to our music as well as being in these gorgeous mountains.”

Everyone, yes, everyone, was glad they came to this unusual performance.

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