Of Unicorns in Curvet for unaccompanied horn utilizes ABA form and unlike other unaccompanied works, it does not rely on extended techniques to display the talents of the performer.  Instead, good rhythm, pitch, and dynamics are all that are required.  The A sections of the work are based on triadic motives that imitate hunting calls, evoking the horn’s history as a hunting instrument.  The B section provides contrasting lyrical material before it transitions into a triumphant return of A.  The piece ends with a codetta that uses material from both the A and B sections and serves as a distant echo of what was just performed, fading away into the distance.   

 While the work does use stopped horn, it does not require any other extended techniques.  It also requires good flexibility, dynamic range, and a certain level of maturity from the performer to make the work cohesive in a performance.  Essentially, it is the composition’s simple elegance that makes it so difficult


Composer Thompson, Bruce A.
Dates (b. 1937)
Duration 6:00
Horn Range Bb2 to B5
Level Difficult/Intermediate-Advanced
Clef Treble and “New-Notation” Bass Clef
Techniques Stopped Horn
Era/Style 20th Century
Country/Region United States
Accompaniment Available None
Accompaniment Difficulty N/A
Movements One Movement