Larry Williams
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Larry Williams

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Paradigms CD Review"

The Horn Call, Journal of The International Horn Society
CD Review: “Paradigms”, Larry Williams, Horn
February2002

"As the title of the disc indicates, the repertoire on it represents different models of lyrics horn playing. A classic Mozart (third) concerto opens this album; listen for some new ornaments, cadenza ideas, and rhythmic license.

Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites expand a hornist's register and musical colors, and No. 2 is an excellent choice to highlight the timbre and range of the horn. All six movements demand the highest level of artistry of the soloist in bringing off nuance and meaning of the melodic lines-a very skillful performance here by Mr. Williams.

All three performers here (Larry Williams, horn, Kyle Engler, mezzo-soprano, Daniel Lau, piano) carefully sculpt Schubert's legendary lied Auf Dem Strom. It requires a great deal of endurance for the hornist. Even with its periods of rest, the notes of longer duration can take a toll on the sensitivity of line, but not so in this performance.

The First Concerto of Richard Strauss, another measure of a hornist's musicianship, is presented with fine bravura and forward style. I particularly enjoyed several nuances and cadential rhythmic stretching I've not heard in other performances. I had wished this work had been triple banded on this disc, as it would make spotting the second and third movements a much easier task. Nonetheless, the lyric flavor in the A section of the slow movement is very rewarding to the listener. It was also pleasant to hear the third movement at a bit more relaxed pace, having ample time to enjoy both the lyric lines and the jaunty more rhythmic section. The first statement of the theme in the coda, played quite slowly here, followed by its repetition at a quicker tempo, was another nuance not often heard by this listener.

The disc concludes with " the original " version of I See A Huntsman; you may be familiar with its arrangement in Mason in Jones's Solos for the Horn Player collection published by G. Schirmer. The original aria has a horn obbligato set in F Major that takes the horn up to high C near the end. The only disconcerting element to my ear is the solo is done with a soprano where the aria is intended for Caesar, a bass-baritone. Copies of this recording are now available at www.lyricbrass.com"

John Dressler, International Horn Society
- John Dressler, International Horn Society


"Black Forest CD Review"

9/12/06
Review of “Black Forest” CD
Larry Williams, Horn
By Chris Gekker
Professor of Trumpet
University of Maryland

Larry Williams’s new cd “Black Forest” features music for horn in several different settings: with orchestra, with organ, unaccompanied, and with electronics. The opening work is a Concerto for French Horn and Orchestra by James Schroeder, titled "The Black Forest." The two substantial movements speak with drama and seriousness:
The narrative flow in the solo part strongly suggests a program. The horn and orchestra engage in very active dialogue, the work has the feel and sound of a tone poem. The solo horn is asked to sustain passages of impressive duration, with occasional moments of nimble agility. Larry Williams is in complete command throughout, playing with beauty and authority.
Alan Hovhaness' Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra, "Artik", is next. This is a live recording, with Donald Sutherland performing the string orchestra score on organ. Sutherland voices his instrument perfectly, and Hovhaness' rich string writing is well served by the organ here. Williams' control is impressive, especially as this is done live, and he understands the flexible lyricism of Hovhaness' narrative language, with its roots in both Armenian folk music and early Eastern Christian chant.
The one work on the cd that is not contemporary is Bach's 4th Suite for unaccompanied cello, which Williams has adapted for solo horn. He negotiates all the large intervals and long phrases well, and rightfully joins the other brass soloists who have documented their study of this music. It is my opinion that Bach's unaccompanied works for violin and cello require the sympathetic resonance of the string instruments to be fully heard, and that these overtones cannot be produced on any sort of solo wind instrument. That being said, Williams' performance is fine, and I particularly enjoyed his interpretation of the inner dance movements.
Two more works by Jim Schroeder complete the cd, both using electronic instruments to accompany the solo horn. "Pennsylvania" seems very appropriate to follow the Bach Suite: it has the feel of some of Bach's organ toccatas, with a weighty, swaying feel that is quite attractive. Again Williams brings a sense of majesty to the solo line, and towards the end ascends into a part of the high register where hornists rarely venture.
The final piece, "Adagio for Horn and Strings" has an almost bluesy atmosphere, and once again I must praise Williams' command of color and nuance, as well as his prodigious endurance. Schroeder has written three very expressive, distinctive works, making one curious about hearing more of his music.
Congratulations to Larry Williams for a job well done: a recording of intelligence, expression, and high skill.
Chris Gekker
Professor of Trumpet
University of Maryland

- Chris Gekker


Discography

2006 "Black Forest", Solo
2002, Paradigms, Solo
Lyric Brass Quintet:
"Daydreams, Desires, and Diversions"
"Christmas Around The World"

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Bio

Larry Williams has distinguished himself as a multifaceted musician whose artistry led the late Philip Farkas, (former Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony and master teacher), to describe him as "an outstanding artist-soloist with fine tone, excellent intonation, superb accuracy, and superior musicianship". Ebony magazine listed Mr. Williams as one of the "50 Leaders of Tomorrow" in 1995 and The Maine Sunday Telegram described Larry as "a phenomenally good horn player, with the brilliance for solo work and the ear to blend perfectly with a string quartet that has been playing together for years".

Williams is currently a member of The Lyric Brass Quintet, Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass and serves as Principal Horn of Soulful Symphony and member of The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra (Detroit). Williams is Artistic Director and Principal horn of The American Studio Orchestra, and serves as Assistant Director of The Sandia Music Festival (Albuquerque, NM). Williams formerly served as Principal Horn of The New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir Michael Tilson Thomas, and has performed with the Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. His wide range of musical styles include: solo & chamber repertoire, jazz, pop, contemporary, gospel, film, and commercial music. Williams has toured and performed with Jazz and Popular music greats: Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Arturo Sandoval.

Larry Williams is a Yamaha Performing Artist, and performs exclusively on Yamaha Custom Horns.