Sonata, for horn and piano, by Gina Gillie
Sonata for Horn and Piano was written in January 2018 on a commission from Steven Cohen for his commissioning project, American Sounds, and subsequent album, Steven Cohen: Cruise Control. The first movement of the work is an exercise in writing a fairly straightforward sonata-allegro form in a German Romantic style. The opening is similar to Richard Strauss’ first Horn Concerto in that it begins with a triumphant ascending arpeggio which then works its way down two octaves. In the following two movements, the first theme from the expos++ition undergoes a thematic transformation using two contrasting national flavors. The second movement is a singing mélodie in the style of Gounod. The ABA form features an undulating 12/8 meter which sweeps the song ever forward. The third movement presents the transformed theme in a rondo with grooving Afro-Cuban rhythms. The music challenges the dexterity of the players with fast moving scales and athletic arpeggios. Sections switch between major and minor keys, and the piano and horn trade the melody back and forth before culminating in a final triumphant celebration. The work received its premiere performance at the Northwest Horn Symposium 2018 held at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.