The Black Pegasus - rhapsody for horn and piano 2018

duration 14 minutes

Ondrej Vrabec

Written for my dear friend and champion, Ondřej Vrabec of the Czech Philharmonic, this single movement, multi-sectional work exploits the most characteristic facets of the horn's musical persona. It opens with a strident fanfare, dissolving into the first of several "horse gallop" figurations, here somewhat stuttering (with a certain Czech-ness also!). A more lyrical passage follows with soaring, emotional phrases but this is not allowed fully to blossom, being cut short by a return to the opening figuration, now more continuous, driving and stormy. A second interruption follows; a little fuller but once again interrupted by the faster music. This becomes climactic, even dancingly exultant before fading. The work's slow heart establishes itself. Slow "chimes" herald an extended, melancholic cantilena, punctauted by Der Lindenbaum-esque scurrying breezes. The horse bursts into a head on gallop, serious, alarmed, into the night with Erlkönig urgency, ever onward. A brief snatch of the lyrical melody flickers past before it plunges over the horizon.

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