Toy Box for Horn Quartet
Toy Box is a suite of eight short character pieces for horn quartet. The simple forms, tonal harmonies, and melodic character of these little movements recall the romantic piano miniatures of the 19th century. The titles of the movements suggest childhood innocence and evoke a nostalgic sentimentality for an older, gentler era. Toy Box was originally written as a kind of exercise in form and harmony- a wistful nod to a legacy of European musical tradition. It was also intended to supply some literature for the composer’s own evenings of horn quartet playing with friends. There are strong motivic links between the movements, such as the oscillating lines at the opening of ‘At the Birthday Party’ and ‘Hobby Horse,’ or the descending melodic formations of “Little Lost Dolly’ and ‘Smoke Signals,’ but these musical similarities do not suggest any programmatic associations between pieces. In fact, if there are any stories suggested in these pieces, it will be left to the players and audience to imagine. The composer is a professional horn player and college professor, and has taught at the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music since 1984. He has written many styles and forms of music, ranging from orchestral music, cantatas, wind ensemble and choral arrangements, transcriptions, chamber music, music for electronic sounds and instruments, music for dance, and incidental music for plays and television documentaries. Recent work includes research in advanced algorithmic composition and electronic music.
• Duration 15 minutes