Magazine article Gramophone

'Before Mozart'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Before Mozart'

Article excerpt

'Before Mozart'

'Early Horn Concertos'

Forster Horn Concerto [No 11 Haydn Horn Concerto No 1, HobVlld:3 L Mozart Sinfonia da camera, VII:D5 Neruda Horn Concerto Telemann Horn Concerto, TWV51:D8

Alec Frank-Gemmill hn

Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan

BIS (F) [SACD] BIS2315 (66' * DDD/DSD)

'WA Mozart may have written the greatest works for horn and orchestra but this should not lead us to define the instrument, and its repertory, too narrowly', Alec Frank-Gemmill writes in a booklet note for his survey of concertos by Mozart's predecessors, a wonderful album, which combines intelligence with music-making of the highest order.

Eighteenth-century composers, Frank-Gemmill tells us, sought to redefine the instrument's potential by freeing it from its perennial association with hunting. So Telemann's Concerto in D major inhabits a world of courtly refinement, while Forster's First Concerto is almost operatic in its heightened sense of drama. Leopold Mozart's exquisite Sinfonia da camera repositions the horn as a member of a chamber ensemble, engaging in a succession of dialogues with a group of solo strings, and Neruda's wonderfully elegant E flat Concerto exploits the lyrical capabilities of the 'clarino' registers at the top of the instrument's range. 'Clarino' playing, however, gradually became unfashionable towards the century's close, as new generations of players developed the potential of the horn's lower registers. Among them was Joseph Leutgeb, for whom Haydn composed his First Concerto in 1762 and for whom Mozart wrote his concertos more than 20 years later. …

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