May the Fourth be With You



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May the fourth be with you

May 4, 2020

Duet Version Commissioned by Hazel Dean Davis

From “Maytudes” – a french horn etude project in consultation with Gail Williams, with one etude created every day during the month of May, 2020

from composer Jim Stephenson (from original Maytudes etude book):

Given my pattern of using the days/month for inspiration,
this one was unavoidable. The Star Wars reference of “May the fourth be with you” has become a social expectation now, and though I hate to be predictable, I tried to
view it as an opportunity to use some famous “licks” from those scores as
fodder for study.

The problem is, though, that this is always a losing battle from the get-go.
Once a reference is made toward a famous bit of music, anything less than
the original piece of music itself will be deemed derivative and lesser.
Anything similar to the original might be accused of being an “attack of a clone”. Or, we could just have fun with it, and not worry about it. So it goes.

I’ve only got an hour a day to create these things!

There are many things here that are so common in modern orchestral horn writing: fanfares, large sweeping lyrical lines, big leaps incorporating a wide range. The “new hope” here is that this etude will prove effective in addressing many of them. With any luck, this will be a nice Solo to play. And in this case, it’s ok to use the force.

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