April 30 & December 31, 2020

Rare Works for Horn and Piano

A collaboration for the ages!

Just before social distancing began, principal horn Brett Hodge and orchestra pianist Christi Zuniga got together to record some rare works for horn and piano. The works, by little-known Lithuanian and Russian composers, draw upon the rich catalogue of folk tunes from their respective countries. We're releasing them exclusively for you, wherever you are.

A note from Brett Hodge, principal horn

Click the play button below to hear this high quality archive recording being released as part of the new Symphony | Anywhere series. Listen to this great masterwork played by your Omaha Symphony from wherever you are!

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Omaha Symphony · Rare Works For Horn & Piano - Brett Hodge & Christi Zuniga

Program Notes

Symphony musicians Brett Hodge and Christi Zuniga collaborated to record these little-known musical gems.

“On the River Nemunelis” | Aleksandras Kačanauskas 1882-1959
Kačanauskas was a Lithuanian chorusmaster, organist, composer and conductor who specialized in collecting and harmonizing Lithuanian folk songs. Vocal music made up the greater portion of Kačanauskas’ work, but the vocal quality of the horn serves this piece especially well. The instrument lends a human quality to song’s lyrical, melancholy opening but delivers a forceful quality as the tune drives forward.

“Melodija (Melody)” and “Sokis (The Dance)” | Abelis Klenickis 1904-1991
Lithuanian composer Abelis Klenickis was an apologist of socialist realism and Soviet ideology, and a critic of innovations in the works of Lithuanian composers. His works are usually characterized by classical music traditions and forms, but bring in declarative Soviet themes. While there is very little information on Klenickis, his work speaks for itself; the innovative melody and soaring piano accompaniment of “Melodija” are reminiscent of Debussy’s “Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune” and “La Cathédrale engloutie.” “Sokis” showcases the horn’s playful side with chromatic lines and dissonant harmonies.

“Nocturne” M. БАЩ ( M. Bashus)
There is virtually no information to be found on M. Bashus – this piece’s origins are a mystery, but showcase the horn’s vocal tenor quality and lyrical abilities. The work’s lush piano accompaniment is typical of eastern European Neoclassicism, drawing upon French sensibilities with full harmonies.

“The Lyric Song” | Azon Fattakh (Pronounced Fattah) 1922-2013
Unfortunately, Fattakh’s name and music are little known for the modern audience – few fragments of his music have been preserved to the present day, but several versions exist in partially finished forms. The works that do exist seem to be very valuable, as there are no complete and published score of most of his compositions. His music demonstrates mastery of orchestral writing and polyphony, the author’s sensitivity to timbre, and the diversity and non-triviality of his melodic style.

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