Kent Leslie: New music for horn 

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click to enlarge Kent Leslie
  • Kent Leslie

A recent recital at Meridian Music found French horn player Kent Leslie continuing to carry the torch as a local champion of contemporary music.

T.Rex by Mark Schultz was an example of the horn stretching its boundaries, with incredibly high passages in the first movement, "Little Feet." In the second movement, "Big Feet/Fast Feet," we heard the horn this time as a predator, stomping after its prey in an engaging, Jurassic landscape.

Flutist Andrea Raes turned the group into a trio for Ballade, Pastore, and Dance by Eric Ewazen. As well as this trio played, and the lovely warmth that Raes' full tone added, the work seemed almost too tame, coming after the thundering rhythms and virtuosity of the previous work.

Primitive Modern, for horn and CD, was an example of James Becekel's interesting and worthy writing for the horn. It was a thoughtful dialogue (as much one can have that with a recording) between technology (the CD) and emotion (horn).

Robert Broemel's Buddha, first written for bassoon, then adapted for horn, was inspired by a Rainer Maria Rilke poem. It's a fittingly meditative piece. As You Like It, one of Jody Nagel's earlier compositions, was humble in aspirations, but nevertheless enjoyable.

The concert ended with a delightful premiere, Honk!, by Butler professor Frank Felice. Felice's writings can be quite mischievous and crafty, and this one was no exception. Playing off of the idea of a car horn, Leslie did indeed honk and jam on all sorts of funkified rhythms (think Bootsy Collins) and statements. It was a fun ending to a thoroughly satisfying program.

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Chantal Incandela

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