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COMPOSER OF THE YEAR 90th BIRTHDAY

JOSEPH HOROVITZ born 26th May 1926 in Vienna

Celebrate Joe’s 90th Year by performing one of his works for wind orchestra. Browse below for performances on Youtube.

BACCHUS ON BLUE RIDGE Filharmonica Lugano

COMMEDIA DEL’ARTE Harmonie Municipale d’Avions

DANCE SUITE Orchestra di Fiati Cita di Fiorentina

EUPHONIUM CONCERTO National Youth Wind Orchestra of GB

FETE GALANTE Oxford Reunion Wind Orchestra

1972 Euphonium Concerto

1984 Bacchus on Blue Ridge: Divertimento for wind orchestra

1988 Wind-Harp

1989 Tuba Concerto

1990 Ad Astra

1991 Fete Galante

1992 Dance Suite

Commedia Dell'Arte

Horovitz brings to the wind band a keen ear for sonorities, a central European charm and wit, and an elegance of phrase. He was born in Vienna and moved to England in 1938. He studied at Oxford and at the Royal College of Music with Gordon Jacob, and later in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. His career started as musical director of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. and continued as director of ballet and opera companies; he was for a time conductor with the Ballet Russe, was on the music staff at Glyndebourne Opera and was Director of the Intimate Opera Company, and during this period he wrote a number of ballets and operas which established his position in British music. Later he became well-known for his cantatas such as Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo, and his incidental music for film and television; he has written concertos, chamber music and a number of works for wind and brass ensembles.

His first work for wind band was Bacchus on Blue Ridge (1983, Molenaar); described by the composer as a Divertimento, this is an amusing three movement work incorporating jazz elements, readily accessible for audiences and providing opportunities for the band to let its collective hair down. Horovitz imagines Bacchus living in the Appalchian Mountains, coming down to the city for a night of revelry, at first cautiously and later with wild abandon; the titles of the three movements tell the whole story – Moderato – Blues – Vivo. The slow movement is a welcome period of reflection with a most delicious trio section while the finale is a knees-up with more than an echo of a Hoedown, all great fun.

This was followed by two very different works, Wind Harp (1989, Molenaar), with its wonderful almost Messiaen-like sequence of harmonies, and Ad Astra (1992, Smith) commissioned by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force in 1990 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, both wonderfully restrained pieces. Two other works pay homage to the world of the rococo dance, Fête Galante (R Smith) and Dance Suite (1992, Molenaar), charming and stylish as all of his music.

In a recent review of brass band music by Horovitz, the writer spoke of his compositions being gems of detail, colour, timbre, light and shade and went on to say that his works reveal a clarity of thought and purpose that makes them immensely satisfying to listen to time and time again. Wind and brass chamber and solo works have undoubtedly created in international reputation. Works such as the Music Hall Suite for brass Quintet and various works for solo clarinet are firmly in the international repertoire and particular popular for brass band are the Euphonium Concerto (1972) and the Tuba Concerto (1989), now both available in fine arrangements for wind band accompaniment.