December Playlist: Happy Hanukkah and Mele Kalikimaka to you

The holidays are a busy time for brass musicians. Just ask UNCSA horn faculty member Dr. Maria Serkin. “Holiday music has become a huge part of brass culture,” Serkin says. Perhaps it's because, like her, people are drawn to the resonating notes that emerge from instruments like the horn, capturing the excitement of the holiday spirit.

But, a song doesn't have to feature the name of a holiday to get you in a festive mood. For Serkin and her selections for our December School of Music playlist, it's about the energy. “The pieces on my list range from a brass arrangement of Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ to tango, to the Beach Boys,” she says. “I love the energy that is conveyed in all of these works, the majority of which involve the horn in one way or another. I strive to incorporate these aspects into my own playing, and I encourage my students to bring excitement into their music as well.”

Take a look (and listen):

 

So, how did these songs make Serkin's list?

The ultimate inspiration: “Messiah” performed by German Brass. “German Brass is known for their brilliant sound and precision. They are a constant inspiration to aspiring brass players and one of the most well-known, well-respected brass ensembles.”

Jazzes things up: “Give It One” performed by The London Horn Sound. “Who says that horn players can’t play jazz? The London Horn Sound is one of my favorite horn ensembles—they bring excitement to everything they play.”

Makes you want to groove: Astor Piazzolla's “Liber Tango” performed by Imani Winds. “This piece makes me want to dance (which is a bit difficult to do while playing horn). And, it showcases the versatility of every instrument.”

Because, Leonard Cohen: “Hallelujah” performed by Genghis Barbie. “This is a horn quartet arrangement of one of my all-time favorite songs. These four horn players are outstanding and mimic the expression of the original work.”

Hits the high notes: “For No One” performed by The Beatles. “I chose this song because it features the horn (as it should). I admire the soloist’s fantastic high range. It’s a tough horn lick!” (See The Beatles—featuring horn—during the original recording session for this song.)

Coolest band name: “Buddy Holly” performed by French Horn Rebellion. “I recently discovered French Horn Rebellion. Naturally, the name of the band caught my eye. This song doesn’t actually feature the horn, but I like their style because it’s reminiscent of 80s pop music.”

Upcoming Performances

If this playlist has you yearning for more brass and horn, you're in luck. Check out the following performances, featuring some of the pieces from the December playlist and the UNCSA horn studio:

  • Wind Faculty Concert, Dec. 10: This concert will feature wind faculty performing a variety of pieces from Latin America, including “Wind Quintet No. 2, II. Heaven” and “Liber Tango.”
  • Horn Studio Recital, Feb. 28: The horn studio will present a program that takes you on an exciting musical journey, showcasing a variety of musical styles for horn ensemble and solo horn—from hunting calls to works for the modern instrument. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear first-hand how the horn’s repertoire has evolved over time.
Maria Serkin
This month's playlist is by Dr. Maria Serkin, Horn Faculty.

by Corrine Luthy

December 5, 2016