PHILIP RAMEY (b.1939): Trio Concertant for Violin, Horn and Piano, Elegy for Horn and Piano, Gargoyles for Solo Horn, 2 Duos for Violin and Horn, Dialogue for 2 Horns, Sonata-Ballade for 2 Horns and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 07T062
Description: For a pianist-composer, Ramey has written perhaps surprisingly extensively for horn, largely as a result of his long-time collaboration with Myers, who commissioned most of these pieces. All but one were written in the 1990s, when the composer's style was based in a rather austere chromatic tonality. The Trio treats the performers as equals, in lively discussion. The first movement is assertive; the second gives each instrument its own material in a succession of 'cadenzas'. The finale is a lively rondo. Throughout, not only is the horn writing virtuosic and idiomatic, but the piano's virtuosity is a constant reminder of the quality of Ramey's writing for his own instrument. The Gargoyles are character pieces based on the expressions of the grotesque carvings on Notre Dame cathedral, exploring the expressive capabilities of the instrument. The 2016 Duos are more overtly tonal than the earlier works, despite the freely dissonant nature of the second piece. The Sonata-Ballade is a substantial work which draws unusual, rich textures and contrapuntal possibilities from the combination of two horns and piano. A tripartite first section, alternately lyrical and dramatic, is followed by a raucously energetic rondo finale. Philip Myers, Howard Wall (horns), Elmira Darvarova (violin), Virginia Perry Lamb (piano).