Our first commission was a Horn Concerto for the Seattle Symphony. It was composed by Samuel Jones, the SSO's Composer-in-Residence, between May 2007 and January 2008. It premiered February 14th and 16th, 2008, played by John Cerminaro. This piece is one of three concerti Jones has written for lower brass.
We were fortunate to meet with Sam several times over the year that he composed the piece and listen to selections as it developed. It was a great way to kick off our commissioning adventure.
Richard Campbell wrote in his review of the piece in the Seattle P-I that "Jones has an ear for the particular qualities of the horn, and he often pairs the solo instrument with orchestral timbres that are striking and original. His use in the third movement of pairs of horns, first offstage, left and right, then in the organ loft above the orchestra, to echo the solo horn is a remarkable device."
Melinda Bargreen quotes Sam in her Seattle Times review referring to the piece as “a kind of musical metaphor for climbing a mountain. The first half of the final movement is gradually ascending; when the peak is attained, there is a blazing, full-throated chorale, and the soloist is exulting, sending out horn calls with almost an alpine feeling. He listens and hears answering echoes from two horns positioned offstage. Reaching the base of the mountain again, there is a quotation from [the hymn] ‘A Balm in Gilead,’ with the echo horns returning onstage to join in.”