On March 16, 2019, Douglas Hedwig’s “Its Soul of Music Shed” for solo flugelhorn and narrator, will receive its Italian Premiere at the Contrasti 2019 New-Music Festival in Trento, Italy. It will be performed by the outstanding MotoContrario Ensemble, with the original English and German poetry translated into Italian.
The Contrasti 2019 New Music Festival, one of Italy’s most important contemporary music events, features music by living composers from Serbia, Greece, South Korea, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, Italy and the US; works chosen to reveal the diversity of style and personality, as well as the biographical and culture contexts of the composers.
“Its Soul of Music Shed” is inspired by two poems: “The Old Mail Horn” (1875) by Birch Reynardson and “Kurze Fahrt” (Brief Journey), by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788-1857). Both poems evoke the mystical quality often associated with the sound of the posthorn, coach horn or bugle calls that were part of everyday life throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The dramatic 8-minute work begins in a modern, atonal style, but throughout the duration of the piece, gradually progresses (regresses) to the basic, natural overtone notes associated with traditional 18th and 19th century posthorn signals and songs. Sections for unaccompanied flugelhorn are contrasted with the recitation of the original, highly evocative poems.
* * * * *
Its Soul of Music Shed was originally composed in 2006, and substantially revised in 2016. The original version (2006) was premiered by the composer in Bangkok, Thailand, as a featured work at the International Trumpet Guild Conference. In 2016, the revised version received its premiere at the New Music on the Bayou festival in Louisiana (Shelby Lewis, soloist & narrator), and was soon after performed at the SonoKlect Festival (VA), and by Louis Eckhardt at the Integers New Music Festival (NE) in April 2018. Then, in November 2018 the World Premiere of a revised version for Horn in F was performed at the London New Wind Festival in London, England (Henryk Sienkiewicz, horn; Catherine Plyers, narrator).