solo horn
horn and piano
brass quintet
wind quintet
brass ensemble
mixed ensemble

recommended reading
about Lin Foulk


Recommended Horn and Piano Compositions
by Female Composers

Compiled by Lin Foulk, www.linfoulk.org

The following works are ones that I would recommend as valuable additions to the horn and piano repertoire. These works represent a variety of musical styles, levels of difficulty (Level I for beginners to Level V for advanced professionals), lengths, composition dates, and several generations of composers from all over the world. Most of the scores to these works can be purchased through your local dealer. If that proves problematic, please explore the websites under the title of each work. In many instances, these websites are how I personally gained access to scores of these works. Please use the table below to jump quickly between annotations.

Carol Barnett b. 1949 USA Sonata 1973 8:00 Level V
Elsa Barraine b. 1910 FR Crépuscules ©1936 2:00 Level IV
Elsa Barraine b. 1910 FR Fanfare ©1936 2:00 Level V
Edith Borroff b. 1925 USA Sonata 1954 13:00 Level IV (mvts. 2 & 3, Level III)
Margaret Brouwer b. 1940 USA Sonata 1996 15:00 Level V
Ann Callaway b. 1949 USA Four Elements 1974 18:00 Level V
Andrea Clearfield b. 1960 USA Songs of the Wolf 1994 14:00 Level V
Odette Gartenlaub b. 1922 FR Pour le Cor 1968 7:00 Level V+
Maria Grenfell b. 1969 NZ Foxtrot 1997 4:00 Level IV
Judith Olson b. 1940 USA Four Fables 1961 8:00 Level V
Edna Frida Pietsch 1894-1982 USA Canzonetta perf. 1971 4:00 Level III
Elizabeth Raum b. 1945 CAN Romance 2001 5:00 Level IV
Jeanine Rueff b. 1922 FR Cantilene 1963 5:00 Level II
Jane Vignery 1913-74 BEL Sonata, op. 7 © 1948 17:00 Level V


Carol Barnett Sonata Thompson 8:00 1973 Level V
Barnett’s Sonata is in three movements that are traditional in form (sonata, ternary, rondo) and economical in thematic organization. Using a quartal harmonic language, the piano writing is thin and light while the horn writing tends to be full, sweeping, and technically challenging (managing these two contrasting textures provides a challenge in balance between the two voices). The piano part is generally accompanimental and tends to comment on the themes introduced in the horn. The first movement is straightforward and conservative with a lyrical first theme contrasted by a syncopated second theme. The second movement opens with a slow descending line in the piano followed by a simple, lyrical melody in the horn. This horn melody is immediately repeated, only this time muted. This pattern of open to muted and later open to stopped horn is a thread repeated throughout the movement, adding a unique color not heard in the outer movements. The middle section of this movement includes a creative use of stopped horn within the chromatic horn melody, moving by half-steps by either opening or closing the hand. The movement ends with an abbreviated version of the opening. The final rondo movement is marked “grazioso,” and is highly rhythmic, with several meter changes and syncopations in both parts. Barnett’s Sonata was composed for Elaine Phillips. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

Carol Barnett (b. 1949), a composer and flutist, received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, where she studied with Dominick Argento, Paul Fetter and Bernhard Weiser. She served as composer-in-residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001, and her works have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Women’s Philharmonic of San Francisco, Westminster Abbey Choir, and the Ankor Children's Choir of Jerusalem. She is currently a studio artist and adjunct lecturer at Augsburg College in Minnesota. Barnett has composed many choral works, as well as works for orchestra and chamber ensemble.

[back to the top]

Elsa Barraine Crépuscules Gras 2:00 ©1936 Level IV
Crépuscules, or twilight/dusk, is a brief evocation of its title. The piano part is very difficult while the horn part is fairly simple and melodic. The tonal language is tonal, yet extremely chromatic, with the key center generally at F-sharp minor. It is in three-part form on a very small scale, with the B section lasting only 11 bars. The return of the A section is muted in the horn and without accompaniment. Crépuscules is brief, but quite beautiful, evocative, nocturnal, and musically satisfying. Although intended for horn and piano, a version for saxophone and piano exists as well. It was composed for Jean Devémy and is the earliest published horn and piano work by a female composer that I could locate at the time of writing. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

French composer Elsa Barraine (1910) studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Paul Dukas. She received premiers prix in harmony in 1925 and in fugue and accompaniment in 1927. In 1929 she received the Prix de Rome for her cantata La vierge guerrière. She worked in French Radio as a pianist, sound recordist and vocal director (1936-40) then as a sound mixer after the war. From 1944 to 1947 she was musical director of the recording firm Chant du Monde. Later Barraine became professor of sight-reading and analysis at the Conservatoire, 1953-1974. Much of her output is for voice, in addition to works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and dramatic works. Her Wind Quintet from 1931 is published in the famous wind quintet anthology compiled by Albert Andraud.

[back to the top]

Elsa Barraine Fanfare Gras 2:00 ©1936 Level V
Fanfare is harmonically colorful with bravura fanfare motifs and a contrasting tender melody in the middle section. The horn part frequently reaches e”. This piece exists for horn or saxophone and was composed for hornist Jean Devémy. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

French composer Elsa Barraine (1910) studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Paul Dukas. She received premiers prix in harmony in 1925 and in fugue and accompaniment in 1927. In 1929 she received the Prix de Rome for her cantata La vierge guerrière. She worked in French Radio as a pianist, sound recordist and vocal director (1936-40) then as a sound mixer after the war. From 1944 to 1947 she was musical director of the recording firm Chant du Monde. Later Barraine became professor of sight-reading and analysis at the Conservatoire, 1953-1974. Much of her output is for voice, in addition to works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and dramatic works. Her Wind Quintet from 1931 is published in the famous wind quintet anthology compiled by Albert Andraud.

[back to the top]

Edith Borroff Sonata Robert King 1954 13:00 Level IV (mvts. 2 & 3, Level III)
This work is idiomatic for both the horn and the piano. The four movements (Rhapsody, Scherzo, Sarabande, and Estampie) go backwards in time, representing musical periods from the Medieval to Romantic eras. The composer describes the movements as differing in mood as well as form and the writing is tonal and melodic. The lush first movement is contrasted with the light, jocular second. The stately Sarabande is followed by the fourteenth-century round dance, Estampie. Borroff’s Sonata was premiered by Nancy Becknell, horn with Borroff, piano at Northwestern University in 1955. Cynthia Carr, horn recorded the work with Julie Nishimura, piano on Images: Music for Horn and Piano by Women Composers (self-produced).

Edith Borroff (b. 1925) was born into a musical family and entered the American Conservatory of Music (Chicago) when she was 16, earning both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees there. In 1958 she received a Ph. D. in Music History from the University of Michigan. In 1973, Borroff joined the faculty of SUNY-Binghamton, where she taught until her retirement in 1992. She has authored more than 15 books and over 100 papers and articles on a wide range of historical and theoretical topics.

[back to the top]

Margaret Brouwer Sonata Pembroke 1996 15:00 Level V
Commissioned by The Horn Consortium Commissioning Group, consisting of 11 professional hornists, Brouwer’s Sonata is a unique and valuable addition to the horn repertoire. It is organized into two movements, “Hymn” and “Riding to Higher Clouds.” The composer writes that the Sonata is “a very personal expression of searching prompted by the deaths of two loved ones within a year’s time.” “Hymn” opens and closes with sparse, wandering rhythmic motion in the piano, later joined by sustained melodic motion in the horn. Expressive recitative gestures rise and fall to create the melodic organization and form of this movement. The composer says “[‘Riding to Higher Clouds’] deals with the complex struggle between the conflicting emotions of loss, hope, memories, and understanding.” A constant sixteenth-note or triplet ostinato drives the outer sections of the movement while the middle section is contrasting. The horn part is rhythmically and technically challenging with little rest. Neo-Romantic and Minimalistic influences are evident throughout. A recording is available on the CRI label (1999) with Kristin Thelander, horn and Rene Lecuona, piano.

Margaret Brouwer (b. 1940) received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University. Her composition teachers have included Donald Erb, George Crumb, Harvey Sollberger and Frederick Fox. Brouwer is currently Head of the composition department at The Cleveland Institute of Music and has also served as Composer-in-Residence with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Her works have been performed by the St. Louis, Juilliard, and Roanoke Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Chestnut Brass Company. Her Clarinet Concerto was recorded by Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on the MMC label. See http://www.brouwermusic.com/

[back to the top]

Ann Callaway Four Elements COMP 18:00 1974 Level V
(Contact the composer at annmcallaway@yahoo.com to order Four Elements).
The four movements of Four Elements are titled: “Wind Fantasy,” “Water Portrait,” “Earth,” and “Fire.” The composer writes: “In Four Elements for Horn and Piano, I explored some special timbral possibilities which involve both traditional and extended techniques for both instruments. Various rhythms and densities during my improvisations and consultations with hornist Jeffrey Langford [who premiered the work] suggested to me the phenomena of nature, the first one of which---for the horn appropriately enough--- was wind itself. The turbulence and even menace of a windy night, heard from indoors, inspired the horn’s single stopped pitches in the beginning of “Wind Fantasy.” (When I was a child, a gust of wind would sometimes produce a sound much like that at our front door and my parents would tell me the wind was “blowing the horn.”) Another early memory is of wind causing branches to rattle against a windowpane, an effect which is approximated in the piece by having the pianist drag the metal part of a pencil eraser across the piano strings. There is no meter in “Wind Fantasy;” instead a time line in the score indicates the approximate duration of pitches, and the music proceeds in gusts, featuring rapid changes from stopped to open notes, valve glissandi, and pitch-bending in the horn and tone clusters and glissandi both on the strings and on the keys for the piano. After completing “Wind Fantasy,” I found it natural to write a contrasting piece, this time about aspects of water. In “Water Portrait,” the listener may hear a progression from smooth droplets falling into some quiet pool (pianist plucking a string in a regular pulse, horn playing a smooth melody) through a small current of bi-tonal ostinato and into a raging cataract, with the horn repeating its original melody and then breaking up that melody into a single calling major sixth, riding the waves until both instruments emerge from the rapids and into another quiet pool, not unlike the one in which the scene began.

Three years passed before the other two “elements” came into focus, and I completed the set with “Earth” and “Fire Music.” “Earth” begins underground, where compressed, rocky strata are evoked by three layers of slowly grinding counterpoint in the piano’s lowest register, the layers becoming ever more massive by way of thicker and faster-moving tone clusters which gradually move up the keyboard, until the horn blasts out its primitive “song at the surface of the earth.” Then, gradually both the horn and piano sink down, disappearing in an igneous chasm of inverted “song” melody and an avalanche of piano arpeggios. In “Fire Music,” my inspiration came from the flickering “Magic Fire Music” from Wagner’s Die Walkure and also from my recently acquired enthusiasm for bebop.” Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

Ann Callaway (b. 1949) began her musical training in Baltimore with Grace Newsom Cushman and continued at Smith College with Alvin Etler. She received graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, where she studied with George Crumb, Jack Beeson, and George Edwards. Her music has been broadcast on both coasts of the United States and she is the subject of a documentary produced by Swedish Radio. Callaway has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Guild of Organists, and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Leighton Artist Colony in Banff. Her works have been performed by the Seattle Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. She has composed many chamber and orchestral works, in addition to several song cycles and works for chorus.

[back to the top]

Andrea Clearfield Songs of the Wolf Jomar 1994 14:00 Level V
Songs of the Wolf is in two movements: “Wolf Night,” based on a poem by Manfred Fischbeck and “La Loba” (The Wolf Woman), based on a Native American legend. This is a dramatic work and Clearfield illustrates expressive wolf cries in the first movement by having the hornist gradually close the bell with the hand, which lowers the pitch gradually by a half step. The work tends to stay in the upper register and includes several g”’s. It is highly rhythmic and technically difficult for both parts, but is musically powerful. This work is frequently performed and was written for Froydis Ree Wekre, who premiered it at the International Horn Symposium in Kansas City in 1994. It is recorded by Wekre, horn with Clearfield, piano on Songs of the Wolf (Crystal Records CD678) and by Cynthia Carr, horn with Julie Nishimura, piano on Images: Works for Horn and Piano by Women Composers (self-produced).

A native of Philadelphia, Andrea Clearfield (b. 1960) has composed for virtually every medium and her works are frequently performed internationally. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Muhlenberg College, a Master of Music in Piano from The University of the Arts, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from Temple University. Since 1986, Dr. Clearfield has served on the faculty of The University of the Arts where she teaches Composition and Interarts, and the Sarasota Music Festival. She is the host and producer of the Philadelphia SALON Concert Series, featuring contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic and world music, founded in 1987. See www.internationalopus.com/Clearfield.html

[back to the top]

Odette Gartenlaub Pour le Cor Rideau Rouge 7:00 1968 Level V+
Pour le Cor is a rhythmically and technically demanding work with special challenges in range and endurance for the horn. It is in five parts, alternating slow with fast sections. The work opens with the solo horn introducing the intervallic focus of the piece with half steps, whole steps, tritones, and major sevenths and especially the motif using the following pattern: up a whole step, up a whole step, down a half step. The character of this section is soft and steady with occasional loud sforzando bursts in the piano. The horn and piano work in unisons and octaves often throughout the work and this can first be seen in measure five as the four-note motif mentioned above is developed. Motion and energy builds and a trill in the horn over accelerating rhythms in the piano propels the work into the second section. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

The second section is highly rhythmic with several meter changes and syncopations in both parts. The section develops motifs heard in the opening and ends with a cadenza-like passage in the horn part. The inner section is marked Lento and includes a sparse accompanimental figure in the piano supporting a lyrical solo horn line. The horn further explores motifs and intervals featured in the opening and develops a new motif, heard first in the horn in measure 94, which is emphasized by silence in the piano. This new motif dances and intertwines with the first motif before the introduction of the presto section. The fourth section of this piece is in 3/8 time with constant eighth notes in the piano. Short punctuations in the horn in unison with the piano add color and blend to this section. The horn takes over the eighth-note line in measure 183 and commands the dominant part again with two f’-f” glissandi and a dramatic dropping to the lowest register of the horn. This gesture signals the final section, which features a virtuosic cadenza in the horn. The piece ends with an aggressive four-measure coda, which recalls the opening motif one last time. Pour le Cor was composed for Jean Devémy, former Horn Professor at the Paris Conservatory.

French pianist, professor, and composer Odette Gartenlaub (b. 1922) won first prize in piano from the Paris Conservatory when she was 14. She studied composition there and won the Premiere Grand Prix de Rome for harmony, fugue, and counterpoint. Her teachers included Olivier Messiaen, Noël Gallon, Henri Busser, and Darius Milhaud. She taught at the Conservatory starting in 1959 and is especially known as a performer, performing as a soloist with major orchestras in France and elsewhere. Gartenlaub has composed mostly instrumental works, especially works for orchestra, small chamber ensemble, instrument with piano, and solo piano. Thirteen of her instrumental works were composed for exams at the Paris Conservatory, including Pour le Cor. More information about Gartenlaub (in French) is available at: http://musicaetmemoria.ovh.org/gartenlaub.htm

[back to the top]

Maria Grenfell Foxtrot SOUNZ 4:00 1997 Level IV
(Centre for New Zealand Music—www.sounz.org.nz)
“Foxtrot” is the final movement of the larger work for horn and piano, Prelude, Fugue, and Foxtrot. In the style of the 1920’s ballroom dance, it is fun and lively, with clever and unexpected meter changes. The use of stopped horn is imaginative and difficult, as the opening introduction includes stopped notes below the staff and the entire middle section is stopped. The composer indicates that the piece should be swung. It is in ternary form with a “boom-chick” bass line in the outer sections and a “romp” (straight quarter notes) in the middle section. It is basically in a homophonic style with occasional commentary in the piano. The horn writing is generally in the mid-range until the eight-bar coda, when the horn rips above the staff with glissandi and a soaring melody, bringing the movement to a raucous close. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

Maria Grenfell (b.1969) is composer and lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music of the University of Tasmania in Hobart. She was born in Malaysia and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. She received a Master of Music degree from the University of Canterbury, a Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers include Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins, Joseph Schwantner, and Samuel Adler.

Grenfell has received commissions from leading New Zealand and Australian musicians and ensembles and her works have been performed in the United States, South Africa, the UK, and Mexico, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. She holds a performers diploma in violin and has been a member of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Youth Orchestra. Awards received for her compositions include the Jimmy McHugh Prize and the Halsey Stevens Prize from the University of Southern California, the Composers' Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award, and the Philip Neill Memorial Prize. Most of her compositions are for orchestra or chamber ensemble, but she has also composed for voice and keyboard. Her music tends to be influenced by poetic, literary and visual sources and from non-Western music and literature.

[back to the top]

Judith Olson Four Fables Hornseth 1961 8:00 Level V
(currently out of print?)
The work is very idiomatic for both instruments. Each fable is concise and brief and uses quartal harmonies as well as melodies based on fourths. The first movement acts as a prelude with stately melodic material. The second movement is a light waltz while movement three is somber and expressive. The final movement is highly energetic with several meter changes. Four Fables was composed for hornist Orrin Olson, the composer’s husband, and is her only published work. It is recorded by Gregory Hustis, horn with Simon Sargon, piano (Crystal, S233) and Cynthia Carr, horn with Julie Nishimura, piano on Images: Music for Horn and Piano by Women Composers (self-produced).

Judith Olson (b. 1940) received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sacramento State University and also studied composition at Indiana University with Thomas Beversdorf and Bernhard Heiden. She has served as keyboardist for the Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and composed choral works for the choir there. She also teaches piano and harpsichord and has composed children’s piano pieces.

[back to the top]

Edna Frida Pietsch Canzonetta UW-Mills 4:00 perf. 1971 Level III
Canzonetta is an expressive work in ternary form. Originally for tenor saxophone and piano, the piece exploits the mid-low register of the horn (The range is A-flat to a’). The harmonic language is Late-Romanitc: expressive and chromatic, using many diminished and major seventh chords and jazz color chords. The melodic material in the first and last sections is dramatic with non-symmetrical lines that are speech-like, while the middle section is simpler and generally in four-bar phrases. The piano has a supportive role, with the exception of the beautiful 15-bar solo line in the transition to the return of the A section. Pietsch’s manuscripts indicate that Canzonetta was possibly premiered in 1971. The piece works well for horn, especially for hornists interested in developing the stubborn mid-low register, yet breath control in the shaping of phrases is challenging. Therefore, it actually ranks as a Level II according to my grading criteria, but is more difficult when phrasing is taken into account. Canzonetta is one of two works that the composer wrote for horn and piano; the other is Summer Idyl. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Edna Frida Pietsch (1894-1982) lived in the same house that her grandfather built her whole life. She received musical training in Chicago when she was very young, studying piano with Ida Schroeder and composition with Wilhelm Middelschulte. She studied composition at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with Carl Eppert, Rudolph Kopp, and Bernard Dieter, in addition to violin and viola with Pearl Brice. She later became a member of the faculty at the Conservatory, where she taught piano and theory to children of all ages and abilities.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock, performed her Fantasy for Orchestra in Milwaukee's Pabst Theatre in 1942 and 1946. Also in 1946, Maestro Richard Balles conducted Five Oriental Impressions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Movements of her Miniature Suite for Woodwind Quintet, Op. 20 have been recorded by the Chicago Symphony Woodwind Quintet on Audiophile Records, AP-17. Pietsch’s works have won numerous awards and in 1981 she was honored by the State of Wisconsin as the "Dean of Wisconsin Composers." Her oeuvre includes works for orchestra, soloist with orchestra, and a few chamber works (including string quartets, instrument with piano, wind quintet), but she has mostly written for the keyboard and voice. Her works are currently held at Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. See www.library.wisc.edu/libraries/Music/wma/pietsch.htm.

[back to the top]

Elizabeth Raum Romance CMC 5:00 2001 Level IV
This work is melodic, lyrical and in a neo-Romantic idiom. The phrase-structure is expressive, asymmetrical, and speech-like. Canon is a musical device used throughout the piece and the two voices take turns in leading the melodic material. In two parts, the opening accompanimental figure suggests E-flat major, but the melody in the horn suggests a Dorian scale, built on B-flat. The first theme is lyrical, yet syncopated and restless. The second theme (measure 8) is a bit more square with fairly articulated pick-up notes, no syncopation, and in B-flat minor. The first theme returns, only this time it suggests a Phrygian scale based on B-flat. The work moves through various keys suggesting motifs from the first theme in B-flat minor before settling into the second section. The second section opens exactly the same way the beginning of the piece began, only the theme seems to be a whole step higher (it is really in B-flat minor this time instead of a Dorian scale based on B-flat). More keys are suggested before the piece settles into C minor at 53-end. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

Romance was commissioned by the Concours du Canada Inc. with assistance from the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Canada Council. It was written for and inspired by Kurt Kellan, Principal Horn of the Calgary Philharmonic.
Canadian composer and oboist Elizabeth Raum (b. 1945) was born in the United States and received a Bachelor of Music degree in oboe performance from the Eastman School of Music. From 1968-75 she served as principal oboist of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra in Halifax, Nova Scotia and in 1975 was named principal with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, a position she still currently holds. She received a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Regina. She has composed several works for solo brass instruments, especially tuba, and has also composed orchestral and chamber works. See www.elizabethraum.com

[back to the top]

Jeanine Rueff Cantilene 5:00 Alphonse 1963 Level II
Cantilene is a simple, reflective song in ternary form. The introductory quarter notes in the piano serve as an ostinato throughout the outer sections. The melancholy horn melody is repetitive with subtle differences between the repetitions, adding articulation, dynamic, and/or rhythmic variety. The central section is more heroic than the lyrical outer sections, but still uses repetition with subtle changes. It is tonal and harmonically colorful, using cool jazz color chords as well as quartal harmonies. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

French pianist and composer, Jeanine Rueff (b. 1922 ) studied at the Paris Conservatory with Noël and Jean Gallon and Henri Busser. She won the Favareille-Chailley-Richez prize for her Piano Quintet in 1945 and the second Grand Prix de Rome in 1948. She worked as an accompanist at the Conservatory and taught solfege there from 1959. She has mostly written chamber music, as well as orchestral music, an opera, and a ballet.

[back to the top]

Jane Vignery Sonata, op. 7 Andel 17:00 © 1948 Level V
Dedicated to M. Maurice van Bocxstaele, Professor of Horn at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, Vignery’s Sonata for Horn and Piano, op. 7 is an outstanding work. Probably written around 1942, it is one of only a handful of chamber works composed by Vignery and her only work for solo horn. The three movements are traditional in form (sonata, ternary, rondo) and in an impressionistic harmonic language. The piano writing is quite difficult and serves an equal collaborative role throughout the piece. The first movement opens with brilliant fanfares in the horn part followed by stopped horn and chromatic passages throughout the A section of the exposition. The piano initiates the B section of the exposition with a beautiful, lyrical melody in G-flat major and the horn later joins the piano with a lyrical counter-melody and later the main melody. The development section explores all of the above themes and the recapitulation is followed by brilliant fanfares in the horn in the final coda. Lin Foulk and Martha Fischer recorded this piece on their CD, Four Elements: Works for Horn and Piano by Female Composers (available here).

The second movement is marked “Lento ma non troppo” and is in a lyrical song form, AABA. The piano introduces the main theme with a two-bar syncopated gesture, which continues underneath the non-syncopated, gentle, melancholy melody in the horn. Transition material leads the music to a restatement of the melancholy horn melody, this time at a forte dynamic, with a rhapsodic piano accompaniment. In the B section a gentle syncopated melody is introduced, stated first in the piano, then in the horn. The two instruments move upwards in chromatic motion away from the B section, building energy with a stringendo and crescendo. The melancholy horn theme from the opening is restated a final time, this time in its most powerful and aggressive guise. The piano ends the movement as it began, with a clear outlining of d minor and the syncopated gesture.

The final movement is a light, comical rondo with colorful, varied articulations and recurring use of stopped horn. An “oom-pah” accompaniment in the piano supports the jocular melodies in the horn throughout the movement, bringing the Sonata to a fun and playful close.

Belgium composer Jane Vignery (1913-74) was born Jeanne Emilie Virginie Vignery and came from a musical family; both her mother and grandfather composed. Her early studies were at the Royal Music Conservatory in Ghent, and she graduated in music theory (1925), harmony (1927), counterpoint and fugue (1929) quite young. She later studied violin at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and harmony with Nadia Boulanger and Jacques de la Presle, as well as musical analysis with Paul Dukas. An incurable weakness in her muscles forced her to give up the violin and devote herself completely to composition. In 1942 she received the Emile Mathieu prize for her Sonata for Horn and Piano and in 1945 she was appointed lecturer in harmony at the Royal Music Conservatory in Ghent, a post she held until her tragic death in a train crash in 1974. Her small output includes works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, orchestra with chorus, and songs.

© Lin Foulk 2010
for individual use only