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E Pluribus Unum

 

 for Two Horns and Strings

September 29--December 23, 2012
Duration: about 20 minutes
 

Premier performance was by the Ciompi Quartet with hornists Chris Caudill and Rachel Niketopoulos, joined by bassist Robbie Link, at the NC Museum of Art, March 6, 2016. 

Video of premiere



Full Score, PDF        Cover     

Horn parts         String parts 

Intro to WHQR broadcast of EPU on May 9, 2016 by Pat Marriott


 I. The Harmonic Series     [5:58]     MP3 recording

      Adagio alexandria

            
II. Completely Legal Theme and Three Variations        

         [6:34]   MP3 recording

                   
III. This is The End        [6:18]      
MP3 recording
      Vivace con sanguinamento labbra    

    

          Chris Caudill and Rachel Niketopoulos are a couple living here in Raleigh who are hornists in the North Carolina Symphony. I have admired their playing for some time, which got me to thinking of something to write for them. I had a chance to meet Rachel at their home, festooned with innumerable cats, at a gathering of Alexander Technique people, where I went at the invitation of Eric Pritchard, my long-time collaborator.
          In 1990 I wrote a series of pieces for consideration by the Air Force band musicians at Warner Robins AFB, as my friend Fred Robinson (no relation) worked as a composer and arranger there. The largest piece was the Munster Variations for concert band, based on trash TV themes from the ‘60s. (Perfectly legal due to parody usage; see the many lawsuits about Barbie-based art that Mattel cannot stop.) However this piece was abandoned after one disastrous read-through and never performed. I took one of the variations as the theme for the middle movement of this work, and used some of the few good ideas much altered in the variations.
          There is a decided lack of large orchestral works in my catalog, since the ones I have are almost impossible to get performed, and if they are someday, it will be very difficult to get use of the recordings. As a result all my large works have chamber versions. This piece fits nicely into that category, since it can be performed either with two horns and string orchestra, or with two horns, string quartet, and double bass. (In time there might be a version for two horns and two pianos as well.) I usually find that the textures are entirely thick enough without divisi, and I use this as an excuse for simplicity.
 
Performance notes
          The two horns should be spaced apart from each other, left and right, to accentuate the frequent antiphonal effects
          Accidentals hold through the measure and not beyond, and do not refer to other octaves. Sometimes I include courtesy accidentals to avoid confusion.