Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Denise Tryon - So*Low

A program of music for a solo instrument (unless it's the piano) usually has limited appeal to the general classical music lover. But this release of music for the low horn should really be the exception -- because both the music and the performance are exceptional.

The low horn is part of the French horn family (and part of the horn section of an orchestra), with a range that extends below that of a regular French horn. Denise Tryon is a low horn specialist, and is not only one of the most prominent players of the instrument, but an advocate of music for it.

The majority of the works on So*Low were commissioned by Tryon, and show the low horn (and her abilities) to best advantage. Tryon plays with a warm, smooth delivery that enhances the dark richness of the instrument itself.

The commissioned works are all relatively conservative in their tonality, while being richly inventive in other ways. Brett Miller's "Hunting Songs," for example, turns the concept of triadic hunt calls around, and presents some dramatic and technical challenges for Tryon.

"A Door Into Dark.." by Peter Askim, exploits the lowest register of the horn, and makes the piano an equal partner in the development of the music.

Also included are some standards of the horn repertoire -- Hermann Neuling's "Bagatelle" and Carl Nielsen's "Canto Serioso." Although they're the oldest works on the album, they fit nicely with the more modern selections in style.

I'm sure there are many horn players who recognize Tryon's name and will want to own this recording. But this is more than just a specialty disc. The music and the performances make this a recording I'd recommend to anyone interested in quality chamber music.

Denise Tryon: So*Low
Music by Hermann Neuling, Peter Askim, Tim Martin, Brett Miller, Nathan Pawelek, Dante Yenque, Carl Nielsen, Andrea Clearfield
Denise Tryon, horn; Julie Nishimura, piano
Bridge 9455

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