Programme – 13/09/20


‘Schubert Without Words’

Ursula Paludan Monberg (natural horn)
John Irving (piano)

Please find the links to the scheduled concert on Youtube below: – Introduction to the hand horn – Concert: ’Schubert Without Words’ – Encore

Gallay: Chants du Coeur
           Melodies Favorites de Schubert, Op.51 (1842)
            Chanson des Chasseurs
            Marguerite (Gretchen am Spinnrade)
            Ave Maria
            Barcarolle (Auf dam Wasser zu singen)
           Les plaintes d’une jeune fille (Des Mädchens Klage)
Schubert: Impromptu in G flat, Op.90, no.3 [solo piano] (1827)

Karl Nicklas Gustavsson:
Tre sidor ur en Cirkushästs memoarer (three pages from the memoirs of a circus horse) [for solo horn] (2005)

             1. Moderato 
             2. Lento… molto misterioso…
             3. Tempo di valse!
Czerny: Drei Brillante Fantasien No.3 (1834)
             Gute Nacht
             Heimliches Lieben
             Variations on Die Forelle
Schubert: Die Forelle (arr. Gallay, Op.51 no.3)
Recorded in New Malden Methodist Church
Music in New Malden is extremely grateful to Floyer Sydenham for recording the performance.
Our programme centres on Chants du Coeur: Melodies Favorites de Schubert, Op.51 by the 19th-century horn virtuoso, Jacques-Francois Gallay.  Gallay was a master of the hand horn (a horn without valves) and Professor of Natural Horn at the Paris Conservatoire (where he held out against the introduction of the valve horn until the 1860s!). His Op.51 Schubert arrangements include some of the most famous, among them Des Mädchens Klage, Gretchen am Spinnrade and Die Forelle. The fact that the collection appeared in three separate pamphlets suggests that Gallay had no particular insistence on the order in which his arrangements might be played, and we are opening with Chanson des Chasseurs from Book 3 – appropriately enough introducing the horn in a very idiomatic setting evoking Alpine hunting horns, before moving on to one of Schubert’s most enduring and haunting songs, Gretchen am Spinnrade, setting Goethe’s famous poem, in which Gretchen, sitting at her spinning-wheel, meditates upon her love for Faust but ultimately realises they can never be united. We then return to Book 1 for Schubert’s ever-popular Ave Maria (not, in fact, a setting of the Latin hymn to the Virgin but a setting of a stanza from Scott’s The Lady of the Lake), and Auf dam Wasser zu singen (likening the soul to a boat gliding across a shimmering lake). Gallay’s Book 2 contains Des Mädchens Klage (The Maiden’s Lament) and possibly Schubert’s best-loved song, Die Forelle (The Trout). We are postponing the Trout to the end of the recital, however, allowing it pride of place as the culmination of Czerny’s  Brillante Fantasien – a gymnastic set of variations on Schubert’s theme. Czerny’s Fantasie selects themes from songs, opera and a well-known piano duet, and we precede the Trout with Czerny’s reimagining of Gute Nacht (from Winterreise) and Heimliches Lieben.
Remarkably, much of Schubert’s solo piano music remained unpublished until after his death. Of his two sets of four Impromptus (composed in 1827), only the first two of each set appeared in print before his death the following year. No.3 from the first set (performed in our concert) was not published until 1857 – and even then, not in its original key of G flat as the publisher thought such a remote and ‘difficult’ key would put off potential buyers!
Karl Nicklas Gustavsson: Tre sidor ur en Cirkushästs memoarer was written especially for Ursula in 2005 for her final recital at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, exploiting some of the more idiomatic and even experimental sonic characteristics of the hand horn.  Nicklas and Ursula were in the same year at the GSMD and had lots of opportunity to explore the possibilities of the hand horn together.  Nicklas has a unique understanding of the instrument’s strength and colours which is demonstrated in this wonderful gem of a piece.   This is the first time the work has been recorded. Ursula has further added ‘he never explained to me where the circus horse came from and I would like to leave this interpretation to the listener too.  I have my own imagination of the incidents in the circus horse’s life, of course…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s