Colored Leaves

by Pamela J. Marshall

for horn

Duration ~6 min.


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Colored Leaves is a contemporary solo for unaccompanied horn. It is a virtuosic solo that requires agility but avoids the high register. Arpeggios are interspersed with time-suspending glissandi. There are two movements: “Crisp and Cool” and “Aria – Whistling Wind.”

The coloristic effects includes hand glissandi, stopped, half-stopped, and muted passages. In the beginning of Whistling Wind, the player can choose between using the hand or the mute to achieve a gentle, distant sound.

The composer writes:

“When I wrote Colored Leaves, I was thinking about all the virtuosic unaccompanied literature that usually ended on a screaming high C, sometimes higher. Since I play the horn, but don’t really have a strong high C, I wanted to provide for horn players a musically interesting alternative that didn’t emphasize the high register. Although difficult, Colored Leaves avoids this gesture, making the piece suitable for players who specialize in low horn.”

Composed in 1994, Cynthia Carr selected it as a student competition requirement at the Southeast Horn Workshop in Newark, Delaware in 1996.


Listen to a recording made by the composer.

1. Crisp and Cool

2. Whistling Wind


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