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Romp by Micah Levy

version for horn quartet (2012)
version for horn quartet, strings, & percussion (2023)
version for band (2015)
Program Notes

Romp as a standalone horn quartet was commissioned in 2012 by my lifelong friend and colleague, Gary Scudder for his four fabulous horn-playing students at Stockdale Christian School in Bakersield, CA. It was first performed by members of the horn studio at Michigan State University in the Spring of 2012. Stockdale Christian School, directed by Gary Scudder, premiered the band version in Carnegie Hall in the Spring of 2016. The newest version for horn quartet, strings and percussion will be premiered by the Davis County Celebration Orchestra on October 28, 2023.

I was lured into being a musician when my mother asked me if I wanted to play a musical instrument. I wanted to play trumpet, but she had other ideas. My mother HATED the trumpet. As a high school teacher, the bane of her existence was being forced to listen to the blare of bad trumpets coming from the music building through her windows on a hot, sunny Southern California day while she was attempting to teach French. Secondly, horn was more unusual (therefore, on that principle, a better choice in our family) and we could get an old, slightly dented King single horn for free from our high school, so horn it was to be. As a hornist I came across multiple compositions which drew upon the (now and, yes, even then) very old tradition of hunting signals being performed on brass instruments, i.e., the Mozart horn concerti, the Strauss horn concerti and the like. They will always be emblazoned in my memory.

Though the use of brass instruments for signaling during the European aristocratic hunt was long ago replaced by the use of electronic devices, the tradition of composers stealing from their forbears (not four bears; I would never steal from even one bear, much less four! After all, I do possess at least a modicum of survival instinct!) is still alive and well! In Romp I have drawn upon the old hunters' signaling tradition rhythmically a great deal, as well as a bit in the melodic and harmonic departments. You can hear the influence of the hunting horn signals throughout Romp.

Now, go have a blast!

- Micah Levy

What people are saying about Romp

“Listen and perform this joyful work, your heart will go 'Romping' through the fields in pursuit of long past images of pomp, pageantry, and the royal hunt”

- Kent Nelson, conductor,
Davis County Celebration Orchestra

“It truly deserves to be added to the …  existing horn repertoire.“ 

- David Glasser, former French hornist,
Cleveland Orchestra

“new and thrilling work…It is joyful, full of energy and exciting colors”

- Eric Kushner, French horn, Vienna Symphony

It’s cinematographic with its hunting rhythm, galloping horses and ebullient mood. It could be a handy item for a conductor who wants to show off his horn section in an educational concert or pops concert.

- Paul Polivnick, Music Director,
New Hampshire Music Festival

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