Skip to content

Departures and Deviations

    CHAMBER MUSIC horn trio
    1 French Horn, 1 Violin, 1 piano

    Duration: ca. 9 minutes
    Composed: 2001

    Programme Note: Departures and Deviations was commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for James Sommerville, principal horn of the Boston Symphony.  It was premiered on August 1, 2001 at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in a concert featuring chamber music with horn.

    The trio began as I considered the very broad question of how this particular piece was going to shape itself, and ultimately turn out.  I was led into this reflection because I took a 5-month hiatus# from writing and I was curious as to whether my musical thought had evolved, or perhaps the writing process, or both.  In mathematical terms you can have a standard deviation from the norm.  Something can be so many standard deviations from the norm that it becomes a the new norm.  The point of departure alluded to in the title is the Finale from the Brahms horn trio.  With its jaunty 6/8 feel, and classic “hunting horn” writing, it inspired a lot of the fast music in my trio.

    The result is a single movement work which divides into 3 sections – fast, slow, and a recapitulation of the fast themes.  The slow section is characterized by cadenza-like solos for each instrument.  The fast music uses interplay and quick exchange of ideas, with everyone switching between foreground and background.

    Premiere: First performance by Martin Beaver, James Sommerville, and Kenneth Broadway, Ottawa, August 1, 2001

    Prizes/Awards: Winner of the International Horn Society Prize for Composition, 2002Recording(s): Recorded by Danial Grabois, release date 2019.

    Score Excerpt [PDF]

    Performed by Martin Beaver, James Sommerville, and Kenneth Broadway.
    Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer