The Ballad of Annabel Lee


"Annabel Lee" was Edgar Allan Poe's last complete poem, written in May, 1849 and published posthumously.  It tells the story of a narrator whose love is so strong for Annabel Lee that the angels are made jealous. Her life is taken by a deadly cold wind, and her body is kept from her love and shut away in a tomb. Yet even separated completely in death their souls cannot be severed, as the moon and stars bring nightly visions of her beauty. Originally written for baritone voice, C trumpet, and piano, Kerry Turner has reimagined this tragic love poem for voice, two horns, and piano.

Kerry Turner is one of the most recognized names in the world of brass playing. He has performed with the American Horn Quartet, the Virtuoso Horn Duo, and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, among many other ensembles. He has performed and taught in Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, the United States and the Czech Republic. Turner has written works for horn in combination with virtually every genre of chamber music including commissions by the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Japanese Horn Ensemble, and the Richmond, Virginia Chamber Music Society (with Thomas Jostlein), among others. He has been awarded top prizes at the International Horn Society Composition Contest as well as the IBLA Foundation.

Programming notes:

The piece runs approximately 10:45 to 14:00, depending greatly on tempi.  Based on the length and subject matter, this would be appropriate in any recital featuring baritone voice, or in a performance of duo horns, and would be a feature piece.  It is challenging, but appropriate in a collegiate-level performance or higher, and requires an excellent accompanist.  Acoustic piano is necessary due to the use of sympathetic string vibration and playing directly on the strings. Horns require mutes and cloths to cover the mutes, as well while playing. The pianist must have a guitar pick or similar for playing on the strings. The tempi and mood vary, and the subject matter is serious.  The libretto closely follows the original poem, as commonly published with minor variations.  

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