Horn Concertos = TELEMANN: Horn Concerto in D; CHERUBINI: Sonata No. 2 in F; FOERSTER: Horn Concerto; WEBER: Horn Concertino; L. MOZART: Horn Concerto in D Major etc. – Barry Tuckwell, horn/Eng. Ch. Orch.;St. Martin in Fields/Marriner – EMI Classics

by | Sep 28, 2005 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

Horn Concertos = TELEMANN: Horn Concerto in D; CHERUBINI:
Sonata No. 2 in F for Horn and Strings; FOERSTER: Horn Concerto in
E-flat; WEBER: Horn Concertino in E Minor; L. MOZART: Horn Concerto in
D Major; M. HAYDN: Horn Concerto in D; STICH: 4 Horn Concertos; HAYDN:
Horn Concerto No. 1 in D – Barry Tuckwell, French horn and conductor/
English Chamber Orchestra/ Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/ Sir
Neville Marriner

EMI Classics 7243 5 86558 2,  (2 discs) 77:22, 78:02 ****:

Inscribed 1973-1980, the diverse and energetic horn concertos in this
set enjoy the talents of Barry Tuckwell, who along with Alan Civil,
assumed the mantle of the late Dennis Brain as the great exponents of
British horn playing. “Dennis set a standard virtually impossible to
replicate,” Tuckwell proffered in our Atlanta interview some years ago.
“His was a French tradition imbued from his own father, Aubrey. We who
came after had been trained more or less in the German tradition, with
its own, Italianate roots.” Tuckwell, who could be as scatological as
he could be musical, shared some recollections about conductors, like
Lovro von Matacic, whom he admired technically, but whose moral
exhortations on Beethoven bored the LSO players to tears. “He was
perfectly right, of course; but when we players are in rehearsal, we
really don’t want to listen to that sanctimonious rot. Just tell us if
you want it loud or soft, fast or slow.”

Perhaps most typical of the German-Italian influence are the four horn
concertos–Nos. 5, 6, 10, 11–of Bohemian composer Johann W. Stich
(1746-1803) or “Punto,” as his professional moniker had it, whose style
has a lyrical, operatic element evocative of Paganini, Bellini, and
early Rossini. While musically rather vapidly ornate and virtuosic, No.
11 in E captures one’s fancy more aggressively. It just so happens that
young Beethoven accompanied Punto (and composed his Op. 17 for him);
and in an early review of the duo, one critic, after praising the
facility of Punto put the query, “But who’s this Beethoven?” The
various, Baroque and pre-Classical horn concertos establish their
hunt-and-pageant ethos early, with Telemann’s robust piece in D. 
The Cherubini sonata has Tuckwell working an extended melodic line that
taxes fingers and breath control. The Weber is a large work requiring
major registration shifts, along with chordal effects from the player,
who must play one note and hum another. The textural clarity, as well
as the masculinity of the performances, renders the entire set easy
listening; although, as I have often stated, listening to collations
such as these in one gulp becomes monochromatic. But the application of
digital and dynamic pyrotechnics, with strings and harpsichord continuo
in full throttle, and add EMI and engineer John Fraser’s excellent
recording standards, makes a jolly-well rousing tribute to a
charismatic master of his instrument.

–Gary Lemco

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