• Michael Blake Watkins
  • Horn Concerto (1974)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • [hp]str
  • horn
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Michael Blake Watkins: Horn Concerto

This work was written during the Autumn of 1974 and is scored for solo horn, harp and string orchestra. Although the piece is in one continuous movement, it does fall into five clearly defined sections, of which the first and the last act as a prelude and postlude respectively. The distant opening, marked Adagio, sees the horn tentatively searching for and discovering its territory. A single cello can be heard vainly imitating the horn’s rising motif, but despite this and other interruptions from the orchestra the soloist predominates. The second section, marked Allegro Maestoso, is constructed on three contrasting ideas. The first a strong fanfare, the second a cloudy episode with its distinctively opaque scoring, and thirdly the main theme which both soloist and orchestra develop freely. These ideas frame a central cadenza for horn solo. The third section is a short but lively vivace. A brief cadenza acts as a bridge to the fourth section marked Moderato, which is cast in a strong 6/8 rhythm and characterised by a slow majestic theme used as the accompaniment to a solo part for the viola, horn and cello in turn. This material gradually fragments and eventually gives way to the 5th section, a distant reminder of the first, with the work ending as quietly as it began.

© Michael Blake Watkins