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About "Portraits of the American West" - for Twelve Horns
Portraits of the American West was commissioned by Greg Hustis
and dedicated to Mason Jones. This
piece for twelve horns and two percussionists was meant to capture scenes
from the early American west.
The first movement, Santa Fe Trail, pictures a
wagon train about to embark on a westward journey over the Santa Fe Trail
in 1825. This trail was very popular at the time for pioneers, but
extremely dangerous. The
opening chorale is meant to reflect the wonder of the journey as well as a
little trepidation for the risks involved.
The main Allegro theme is fanfare-like in nature representing the
courage and excitement of the men and women who made this trip. The Moderato section combines the chorale theme with this
main Allegro theme in a slower tempo reflecting the solitude of the
landscape on this long journey. The main Allegro theme returns and the
music accelerates over time as the wagon train nears its final
destination. This movement
concludes with a return of the opening chorale theme, now stated as a
fanfare of celebration for a successful journey.
The second movement, Prairie Sunrise,
paints a musical portrait of a sunrise over the prairie during similar
travels of Americans settling the west.
Such a sunrise on a pretty day must have been particularly
beautiful over a virgin landscape.
The third movement, Colorado Vistas,
portrays a similar picture of Colorado.
The opening fanfare is a tribute to the grand, majestic image of
the Rocky mountains. The
Allegro that follows is a tribute to the American cowboy and the
adventures that they had while herding cattle in 1876.
Performance Duration 19 minutes
Movement - 8
2nd Movement - 7 1/2
3rd Movement - 3 1/2
Program notes for "Portraits of the American West"
The hornists from the Dallas and Houston Symphonies, led by Gregory
Hustis and William VerMeulen respectively, recorded this work
with Crystal Records. The CD can be purchased from Crystal Records
at www.crystalrecords.com by
A combined ensemble of teachers and students from DePauw University and
Indiana University played this work at a recital featuring Rob Danforth,
Jeff Nelsen, and Julie Beckel on October 2, 2008 at 7:30 on the DePauw
campus in Greencastle, IN.
The Eastman Horn Choir, coached by Peter Kurau, performed
"Portraits of the American West" on March 22, 2009.
The CCM horn choir, Esprit de Cor, performed the third movement on
November 23, 2009.
Link to Randy Gardner conducting the Esprit de Cor, horn choir at
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in a performance of
the third movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pejRizHRIxQ
"Portraits of the American West" may be purchased from the
composer by contacting him from the contact
page on this website.
The following audio samples are from the above mentioned
CD recorded by Crystal Records and are used with permission from Greg
Hustis and Crystal Records.
to start listening or click on a specific track. Use the left and right arrows to navigate
through the tracks.
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