Robert Ward, hornist, has been a part of the Bay Area classical music scene since he joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1980 as Associate Principal Horn and played in the inaugural concert for Davies Symphony Hall. Since September 2001 he has held the position of Acting Principal Horn, and has performed across the United States, Europe and Asia with the San Francisco Symphony while on tour. He can be heard on many of the San Francisco Symphony’s CDs, most recently playing solo horn in Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 9th Symphonies, released on SFS Media, as well as the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy-winning television production of Sweeney Todd.
He also composes and arranges music – his Quartet for Horns was given its premiere at the International Horn Society Conference in Eugene, Oregon in 1996, and his Sound of the Sea for chorus and solo horn was first performed in March, 2002 with the San Francisco Choral Artists. Sound of the Sea appears on the recording Music Among Friends. A committed teacher, he is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of California at Berkeley, and has in the past taught at Dalhousie University, Acadia University and San Francisco State University.
About the piece And All the Sea Sang
This is the second installment of a multi-movement suite with texts about the sea. The combination of solo horn and chorus is not a common one, and in contrast to my earlier piece, Sound of the Sea, the horn in this one acts more as a commentator on the text and less as a voice which introduces musical material. The harmonic language of this piece is very different too – Sound of the Sea for the most part operates in an intentionally restricted harmonic space, using only 6 of the 12 tones, whereas in And All the Sea Sang I use dense, crunchy, but ultimately tonal chords to give an ecstatic, symphonic feeling, mirroring the text (originally entitled, Symphonic Study No.1 after Robert Schumann) I tried to make the overall impression larger than the some of its parts with many passages of harmony of up to 8 parts, along with the horn reinforcing the chords in its melodic contributions.
This would have never happened without the encouragement and support of Magen Solomon and all the members of SFCA – many, many thanks!