FANTASY FOR HORN, Op. 88 by Malcolm Arnold
INSTRUMENTATION: Unaccompanied Horn
PUBLISHER: 1966 Faber Music; Printed in Great Britain by Halstan & Co. Ltd., Amersham, Bucks.
LENGTH: 127 Measures, Approximately 4 minutes
CAN BE FOUND ON IMSLP: No
YOUTUBE: Steve Park
iTUNES: Eric Ruske on his album Me and My Horn
GRADE/DIFFICULTY (1 easy, 6 very difficult): 3
EXTENDED TECHNIQUES: Hand Stopping (+)
RANGE (horn pitch):
Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921 2006) was an English composer born in Northampton, England. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music with Gordon Jacob and trumpet with Ernest Hall before joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra as second trumpet in 1941 and becoming principal trumpet in 1943. In 1948 he dedicated himself fully to composition. Sir Malcolm wrote fantasies for all orchestral wind instruments and also the guitar, recorder, harp and cello. The Fantasy for Horn was commissioned by the city of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for the Birmingham International Wind Competition in May of 1966 and reveals the facility the composer is able to present not only stylistically but also aesthetically and athletically. The first performance took place in the Birmingham Town Hall premiered by Hungarian hornist, Ferenc Tarjani.
The form of the tune could be presented in two different ways depending on your point of view. It can be presented in a basic rondo form (ABA) with the B section consisting of two separate ideas or it could be considered a ternary form due to the strength of each section presented. The first (A) section is a lighthearted, triplemeter melody portraying the pub faring merriment of the English working class. The jollity of the first section moves straight into the grieving lullaby of the B section ending with a distant fanfare which is propelled via a chromatic sprint back into the A section. This is a fantastic piece for unaccompanied horn and is a perfect addition to any recital program.