Renowned horn player performs guest recital at UCA

Jennifer Dugle, a skilled horn player from Nashville, Tennessee, performed a free concert for the campus and community on Nov. 29 at the Organ Recital Hall. The event lasted approximately an hour and featured four movements separated by a brief intermission. Dugle was accompanied on piano by Tim Burns.

The first piece of the concert, Sonata #1 by Laurence Lowe, featured three movements: “Freely,” “Elegy (for Allen Lowe, 1954-1973),” and “Caccia.” The first movement presented a delicate piano introduction. The horn came in with a wide range of octaves and slow scales. Multiple crescendos built the emotion of the piece up to a dramatic piano solo that then quieted down to let the horn back in and resume the calm music of the movement. A key change created contrast in the music, and then a low sustained note concluded the movement.

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“Elegy” is a tribute to the composer’s son who died in a car crash at only nineteen years old, a month before his wedding. The minor key set the mood for a slow, melancholy piece loaded with emotion. Huge chords in the piano and high notes in both instruments created a sound of angst that accurately captured the chaotic emotions of dealing with loss.

Dugle described the third movement as “wild and fun,” and indeed she played it at a much faster tempo than the previous two pieces. Complex piano rhythms, quick runs in the horn and playing in the extremes of both octaves created a chaotic yet structured sound. The movement ended abruptly with a final resounding chord from both instruments.

The second piece of the concert was a tonal, romantic piece called “Andante” by Ricahrd Strauss. Dugle mentioned that she originally struggled with the long, sustained phrases with the Colorado altitude before adjusting enough to play it flawlessly during the performance. The major key of the piece created a generally slow but happy-sounding atmosphere with crescendos in the piano accompaniment that led up to a satisfying concluding chord.

After a very short intermission, Dugle and Burns played “Secret Winter” by Amir Zaheri. The piece was similarly slow and melodic to the previous pieces. Dugle used a mute to alter the sound of the horn to a more “crunchy” tone. The piece slowed down and sped back up multiple times, fluctuating in tempo to keep the mood changing with each phrase. A peaceful, high piano note resolved the piece.

The final performance of the night presented “Steamboat Stomp” by Robert Weirich, a fast, chaotic, jazzy piece filled with frantic horn runs and intense dynamic contrast. Octave jumps showcased Dugle’s high skill while a pulsing bass rhythm of the piano brought jazz elements to the performance. Short solo features for both instruments created quiet, building moments that would burst back into the main melody after a few measures. The piece seemed to grow faster and faster as it approached the end of the concert and the octave jumps grew even more far apart. After a series of fast, repetitive runs, the piece ended seemingly out of nowhere.

The concert overall provided the campus and community with a guest artist to present a new perspective on various types of music. Dugle brought a spectrum of emotions to the concert hall through her skilled performance and brought musical diversity to CSU.