for corno di caccia (or flugelhorn or cornet) and piano
August Evening with Corno di Caccia was written at the request of my friend and colleague, Michael Tunnell, at the University of Louisville. For several years now Michael has been exploring the corno di caccia, playing repertory from the instrument’s heyday, as well as commissioning composers to write new pieces. Michael is a true friend to contemporary composers, commissioning and recording numerous works by composers from around the country. This is only the most recent of several pieces I have written for Mike and his wife, pianist Meme Tunnell. They have recorded several of them on his various CDs.
Despite the origins of the corno di caccia as an instrument used outdoors in the hunt, the sound of the instrument is surprising mellow, striking my ears as very similar to that of the flugelhorn.
I usually have a title in mind before starting a piece, so as I was about to begin something new for Michael, I looked around for something interesting to call it. I did a web search for poems about trumpets and came up with the very intriguing August Evening with Trumpet, the title of a collection of poems by Harry Humes. I wrote the piece before I was able to find a copy of the poem, so it doesn’t really have much to do with the poem itself, but in it I have attempted to capture both the languor and the bright heat of August. The structure is fairly simple, alternating and developing two main ideas, one sort of fanfarish, and the other more lyrical, eventually leading to a bright conclusion.
Recorded by Michael Tunnell, corno da caccia with Meme Tunnell, piano
Produced by Tim Haertel and Phil Stirgwolt. Photography: Tom Fougerousse.