CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Thelander and Breckenridge will play music for natural horn and fortepiano
Sept. 19 at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Horn player Kristin Thelander from the University
of Iowa School of Music will be joined by Carol lei Breckenridge from Central
College in Pella for a recital of early 19th-century music for natural
horn and fortepiano at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 in Clapp Recital Hall
on the UI campus.
Thelander and Breckenridge will perform five works: Beethoven's Sonata
in F major, op. 17; the Romance of Camille Saint-Saens; Douzieme Solo (Twelfth
solo) by Jacques-Francois Gallay; Franz Lachner's "Variations on a
Favorite Swiss Folksong"; and the Sonata in F major, op. 2 by Louis-Francois
Dauprat. Their recital will be free and open to the public.
The natural horn -- basically a curved brass tube without valves --
and the fortepiano -- a smaller, gentler precursor of the modern grand
piano -- are the historical instruments of the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. There was an abundance of music written for the combination
of natural horn and fortepiano, particularly between 1750 and 1850, when
the natural horn was as popular a solo instrument as the violin or the
Even after valves were invented in 1815, composers and performers alike
continued to prefer the natural horn. This popularity seems to have been
due to the beauty of tone, smoothness and flexibility of the great horn
virtuosos of the time.
Thelander has performed professionally on both the historical natural
horn and the modern instrument with valves. She prefers the natural horn
for the earlier music because, she says, "certain aspects of expression
and technique are especially satisfying when the music is performed on
the instruments for which it was originally intended."
Because it has no valves, the natural horn can only play the notes of
the natural harmonic series. The other notes of the scale are played by
using the right hand inside the bell. As Thelander explains, "part
of the charm of the natural horn is the variation of tone quality that
results from using the right hand inside the bell."
Beethoven wrote his Sonata for horn and piano for Giovanni Punto (born
as Johann Wenzel Stich), a successful horn player who had earlier impressed
Mozart with his playing. Beethoven and Punto premiered the sonata in Vienna
and Budapest in 1800. Because Punto specialized in low horn playing, the
sonata does not extend into the highest register of the instrument. Instead
it features the characteristic low-horn techniques of wide leaps and rapid
arpeggios. Written by Beethoven for himself to play, the piano part is
even more virtuosic than the horn part and often plays the themes.
One of the lesser known musicians of the early 19th century, Dauprat
was a horn professor at the Paris Conservatory. He is remembered today
chiefly for a method book he published in 1824. Second horn of the Paris
Opera orchestra, he evidently preferred the anonymity of orchestral playing
to the life of a concert virtuoso. His many works were probably written
for his students at the conservatory rather than for his own performances.
The horn and piano are treated equally in his Sonata in F major with virtuosic
passages written for both instruments.
Gallay studied horn with Dauprat, whom he succeeded as horn professor
at the Paris Conservatory. Like Dauprat, he is remembered for his study
pieces for the horn, which are still used for teaching. He also wrote many
duets, trios and quartets for horn ensembles and at least 56 solos for
horn and piano, 12 concertos and other works. Although he played and taught
long after the invention of the valved horn, Gallay played only the natural
horn, and his solos were used for natural horn competitions at the conservatory
Thelander joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989. Active
as both soloist and chamber musician, she is a member of the Iowa Brass
Quintet. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra
in Jacksonville, Ore. Previously she was on the music faculty at the University
of New Mexico, and she was a member of the New Mexico Brass Quintet, the
Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony and the Four Corners Opera Festival
in Durango, Colo.
Thelander holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota
and the University of Wisconsin. She was the first prize-winner in the
1981 American Horn Competition, and she has performed throughout the United
States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China.
She has been a featured artist at many regional and international horn
workshops in recent years, and she has performed as soloist with the La
Crosse Symphony, the Heartland of America Air Force Band, the Lake Agassiz
Concert Band, the Britt Festival Orchestra, the Iowa Baroque Orchestra,
the Greeley (Colo.) Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony.
Thelander has recorded two CDs for Crystal Records, one with the New
Mexico Brass Quintet and one as natural horn soloist with Breckenridge.
In 1997 the Iowa Brass Quintet released its first CD, featuring music celebrating
the UI Sesquicentennial, and they recently released a recording of the
Fisher Tull Concerto da Camerata for saxophone and brass quintet for the
Centaur label. Thelander has been a member of the Advisory Council and
the vice-president of the International Horn Society.
Breckenridge is chair of the music department at Central College. She
holds bachelor's and master's degrees in piano from the University of
North Carolina and a doctorate from the UI. She has developed a specialty
in Classical-era keyboard music and has become an active performer and
lecturer on the fortepiano and the clavichord. She recently studied fortepiano
and Classical style with the distinguished pianist Malcolm Bilson at Cornell
Breckenridge has presented programs for the Midwestern Historical Keyboard
Society, the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society and the International Clavichord
Symposium, and she has played concertos with the Baroque Orchestra of Iowa
and the Susquehanna University Orchestra. She has published several articles
on Classical keyboard music, and she is currently preparing a "Guide
to Classical-Era Keyboard Music for Piano Teachers and Students."