The Swan - Alexandre Ouzounoff
For French horn and String Quartet
I first met Radovan Vlatkovic thanks to the Penderecki’s Horn Concerto. When I decided to work on the Piano reduction (2014) of that piece, he introduced me to Schott Edition. Few years later, in 2018, we decided to work together: Radovan’s idea was to compose for Horn and String Quartet.
I wrote many pieces for French Horn as soloist but only with Orchestra or Piano. In Chamber Music the Horn is rarely used as the principal voice in the instrumentation. For many years I have dreamed of the opportunity to compose a piece for Radovan and to give him a soloist role to display his wonderful talent.
When I started to compose « The Swan », the first words which popped into my mind are:
Force – Majesty – Suppleness – Royal solitude.
They have been my guide all along the composition.
At the beginning of the piece, Force takes place with an impulsive and homorhythm formula. It sounds like an Orchestra more than a Chamber Music Ensemble.
In the moment of the piece titled « The Swan », shortly after the beginning, I have tried to suggest the majesty of Horn’s sonority with an almost consonant chord. The soloist phrase moves slowly, with majesty trough the quiet atmosphere of the strings.
As I have considered the Horn as the 5th instrument of the Quintet and not only as a Soloist, but he is also experiencing the same strain as Strings. All this requires an exquisite suppleness.
Royal solitude is expressed in the Coda in which Strings have an only harmonic role, leaving the Horn deploying the melody intersected with silences and punctuated with a pizzicato ostinato by Cello.
The piece is in one movement and dedicated to Radovan Vlatkovic.
Duration: 10' 30''
Score and parts