SONATA FOR HORN AND PIANO by Bernhard Heiden
INSTRUMENTATION: Horn and Piano
PUBLISHER: 1939, 1955 Associated Music Publishers, Inc. New York, a division of G. Schirmer
Movement 1: Moderato — 183 measures, approx. 4m50s
Movement 2: Tempo di moderato — 135 measures, approx. 5m10s
Movement 3: Rondo: Allegretto — 244 measures, approx. 3m20s
CAN BE FOUND ON IMSLP: No
SPOTIFY: Deborah Moriarty, Music for Horn by Hindemith and his Students
iTUNES: John Cerminaro, Sonatas by Beethoven, Hindemith, and Heiden
GRADE/DIFFICULTY (1 easy, 6 very difficult): 4
EXTENDED TECHNIQUES: Hand Stopping (+)
RANGE (horn pitch):
Bernhard Heiden (1910 – 2000) was a German-American composer and music teacher, who studied and was heavily influenced by Paul Hindemith. Heiden — formerly Bernhard Levi but changed his name due to anti-semitism — entered the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin in 1929 studying composition with Paul Hindemith, conducting with Julius Prüwer, piano with Max Trapp, and score reading with George Szell and Alexander Zemlinsky. While at Berlin he eventually won the Mendelssohn Prize in Composition. Bernhard and his wife emigrated to the United States in 1935 to leave Nazi Germany finding themselves in Detroit. He conducted the Detroit Chamber Orchestra until becoming a naturalized citizen when the then decided to join the army eventually becoming an Assistant Bandmaster of the 445th Army Band. After the close of WWII he finished his studies at Cornell University finishing his M.A. degree. He later joined the staff of the Indiana University School of Music, where he served as chair of the composition department until 1974, retiring in 1981.
In an interview with Bruce Duffie, Heiden thinks of his music as paleo-romantic calling the current music scene confused. Nicolas Slonnimsky describes Heiden’s music as neoclassical in its formal structure, and strongly polyphonic in texture; it is distinguished also by its impeccable formal balance and effective instrumentation. Heiden has written significant contributions to horn literature including a sonata, a concerto, a quintet for horn and strings, a piece for tuba and horn choir, a set of horn duets, a horn quartet, and quartet for horn, violin, cello, and piano (Horn Call).
In an undated letter to Heiden, Hindemith commented that many of the themes are attractive but perhaps not appropriate and the last movement was too light and shouldn’t be happening any more. Joanne Filkins postulates that it is not surprising that Hindemith complained of the lightness because Heiden’s style is in general much lighter than that of his mentor. The sonata is dedicated to Theodore Snyder, who played principal horn in the Detroit Symphony when the work was composed. The first movement is in sonata form — and the opening theme uses all 12 pitches, the second is a dance like movement while the third movement is a rondo.