Verne Reynolds: "Scenes Revisited"
Born: 1926, Lyons, Kansas
Died: June 28, 2011
Instrumentation: Wind Ensemble
Duration: 18 minutes
Verne Reynolds began study of the violin and piano at an early age and at thirteen began playing the horn. He has degrees in composition from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the University of Wisconsin, and has studied at the Royal College of Music in London. As a performer he has been a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the American Woodwind Quintet, and from 1959 – 1968 was principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. As a teacher he has been on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and for 36 years as Professor of horn at the Eastman School of Music. He was one of the original members of the Eastman Brass Quintet and recorded and traveled extensively with that group. As a composer he has received awards and commissions from many orchestras, universities, chamber music groups, and solo performers.
Scenes Revisited was commissioned by and dedicated to the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble and its conductor, H. Robert Reynolds in 1977. The work is the second of a series, which began with Scenes, and concludes with Last Scenes, a concerto for horn and wind ensemble. Scenes Revisited is itself a concerto for the entire ensemble, as almost every section is called upon to display virtuosic technique, stamina, or sheer dynamic power, as in the opening gesture of the work, an effect described by the composer as an “impenetrable, opaque wall of tragedy that one can neither hear nor see through.” The piece also reflects Reynolds’ interest in and affinity for what might be best described as “atonal jazz,” a style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie. Particularly noteworthy is the extended section for timbales and bassoon duet in which the performers must “swing.” Other devices typical of Reynolds’ writing, and reminiscent of Scenes, are the long section of very slow, “scorched earth” music, rapid woodwind figuration, and the sequential presentation of a tone row - here by the trumpet section - over an increasingly dense aleatoric background. The work is a single broad arch without a break.
- Verne Reynolds