I know nothing about the French horn except that my niece will be receiving her doctorate in French horn next week and I want to buy her something special. I cannot afford to buy her a French horn, and she certainly has her own, but I am wondering if there are any things that are considered extremely special to a horn player. I am an attorney and own a volume of old English law books. That is an amazing thing for an attorney to have. I guess I'm looking for something along the same lines - not necessarily a volume of books, unless there is such a thing for horn players - but what could I get her that is esoteric to your field and something that she might not buy for herself but would love to have? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Suggest as many things as you can think of, just in case I have trouble tracking something down! Thank you!
She probably has most all the books she will need. So you might have to ask if she has x, or Y, etc.
1) Thompson, The Orchestral Audition Repertoire for Horn.
Thompson Edition, INC.
231 Plantation Road
Rock Hill, South Carolina 29732-9441
This is a compilation of the most popular audition pieces being asked for at auditions. It is better than "excerpt books" because it has the whole piece from an actual orchestra library. So it will look like what they will see at an audition.
2) iVasi, the video conductor (James Decker).
P.O. Box 3726
Long Beach, CA 90803
email: Conductor440@aol.com http://ivasi.org/contact.cfm
I spent a large part of a day with James Decker as he was finishing up this project. And it is a wonderful preparation tool for auditions. There are series and I think they run about $40 per series. It is a video of the conductor conducting audition piece with the orchetra and you play along. It might seem trivial but it is an excellent example of different conducting styles.
John, I cannot thank you enough for your response. I'm thinking of going with the first one for $100. But let me ask you this. Would your response be the same if you knew that she had already been on a slew of auditions? She played with the Navy Band and also an orchestra in Austria as soon as she graduated from the Royal Academy. In fact she had recently won a spot with the Air Force Band in San Antonio, but they rescinded it because it went over their quota of former service people. She also has her own students.
If you think the audition book is still a good thing, despite what I've told you, then that is going to be her gift. If you think audition books are out because of what I told you, then I'm back to the drawing board. Unless based on what I've told you, you think that the second gift you suggested woud be better.
The Thompson Edition (TE) can still be a worthwhile gift. I have regularly played with the US Navy Band South West in the summers and none of their horn players have the TE. I actually know very few players who have it, which surprises me. I haven't done an audition in probably over 17 years and I still use the TE book.
The TE book can be used for:
1- preparing for auditions, of course.
2- keeping up on common transpositions ( as horn players we are always transposing)
3- substituting.If I get a call to sub for someone and they are doing piece 'x', bang! I have it and can starting working on it not having to wait for a piece to come in the mail. I even been called to sit in last minute for a concert when the principal had emergency surgery and they couldn't get to his music. Bang! I happened to have most of it in my TE book. so no one has to transcribe it off the score at the last minute.
4- not substituting - why use the rental piece when I can use my own with MY markings, in ink if I like.
5- I can copy out sections for particular lessons with particular students.
6- even if she doesn't use it for any of the above it is great to use for following along when you listen to recordings, or just to study and look at (I suppose you have to be a little bit of a nerd there).
So, yes, I think it can still be a worthwhile gift.
Also, if you are going to get her the TE there is something they don't give you but I find very useful, it is a listing of transposition locations. TE has the pieces arranged by composer and then by title. But TE does not have an index of transpositions, so I made one myself. I can send you a Word Doc or PDF of the transpositions grouped by key showing each page they can be found on. So let's say she feels she is getting rusty on her Bass Clef transpositions Horn in D, she can go to my list and know to go to the specific pages she can find pieces that have Horn in D in Bass Clef. With over a thousand pages it would be cumberson to physically go through each page to try and locate that specific need. You can email me at johnlovemusic50 (at)gmail.com and I will send you the word and PDF file if you'd like. You can print it out and add it to the book and/or give her the electronic file so she can edit it if she gets a newer edition than mine.
Have you considered having a piece of music written specially for the horn and dedicated to her? I am in a position to provide that service for you. The length, complexity and style of the music will determine the cost - but I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how comparatively little it might be. Does she have a particularly strong characteristic or personality trait that you would like to have reflected in the music?
Look me up on 8 notes and listen to some of the horn music I have already written - it might give you some idea of what's possible.
The only condition I insist on is that copyright to the music remains with me - but the dedication will always be displayed on the front page of the score.