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Mozart: Horn Concerti / Bryant, Dausgaard, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog #: 28460   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MOZART Horn Concertos: Nos. 1–4. Rondo in E?, K 371 Jeffrey Bryant (hn); Thomas Dausgaard, cond; Royal PO ROYAL PHILHARMONIC 28460 (62:03)


The popularity of Mozart’s four horn concertos is more likely a consequence of the limited repertoire of concerted works for horn and orchestra than it is of any special merit that attaches itself to the music. The horn of Mozart’s day was valveless, thus circumscribing chromatic peregrinations and modulatory excursions. An accomplished player Read more could force the instrument to produce notes not within its natural overtone series by means of lip adjustments or by stopping the bell with his hand; but changing keys, as from one movement to another, usually entailed the insertion of various pieces of tubing called “crooks” to alter the fixed length of the horn’s plumbing.


Joseph Leutgeb, a cheese-monger by vocation, was, by all accounts, such a master of the instrument; and it was for him that Mozart is believed to have written these concertos. Of the four numbered works, the First, in D Major, is the most problematic. Not only is it missing a slow middle movement, the two movements of it that do exist appear to be by different hands and are orchestrated differently. Bassoons are called for in the first movement but not in the second. This is also the manuscript in which Mozart jokingly sprinkled the pages with some pretty crude insults aimed at Leutgeb, suggesting that the composer was friendly enough with the horn-player to engage him in some good-natured jousting. Mozart himself probably did not consider his horn concertos to be among his greatest works.


Anyone who loves the sound of the horn will revel in this disc. Absolutists and HIPsters, however, will not approve, except for some small percentage of closet non-purists who enjoy the guilty pleasure of a good ear-caressing every so often, and then hide the salacious CD under the bed. Jeffrey Bryant produces the smoothest, creamiest, richest tone I think I’ve ever heard come out of a French horn. Plus his playing is pitch perfect and distinguished by elegant phrasing and nuanced dynamics. Tempos are a bit on the moderate side of what we are accustomed to hearing in these works, but they give that much more opportunity for the refulgence of Bryant’s horn to resonate.


For the record, in a previous life Bryant served as principal horn of the Bournemouth and London Symphony Orchestras and the London Philharmonic. Since 1975, he has occupied first chair in the Royal Philharmonic and is professor of horn at the Guildhall School of Music. The Royal Philharmonic, here under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard, is captured in an exceptionally warm acoustic that is ever so slightly set back to allow the soloist his full due. I realize there are those for whom no horn-player can ever unseat Dennis Brain or Alan Civil. And for others, longtime Chicago Principal Dale Clevenger, Berlin Principal Gerd Seifert, or Bryant’s predecessor in Bournemouth and London, Barry Tuckwell, still reign supreme. But having heard recordings of all these fine artists in these works, I can truthfully say that none have made as strong an impression on me as this new one by Jeffrey Bryant. I’ll admit that I was never much of a fan of Mozart’s horn concertos, but this new version has made a convert of me. It is simply gorgeous.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Horn no 1 in D major, K 412 (386b) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
2. Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, K 417 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Vienna, Austria 
3. Concerto for Horn no 3 in E flat major, K 447 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784-1787; Vienna, Austria 
4. Concerto for Horn no 4 in E flat major, K 495 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
5. Rondo for Horn and Orchestra in E flat major, K 371 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 another beautiful mozart horn collection March 9, 2013 By Paul ackerman (glendale, AZ) See All My Reviews "I have numerous recordings of the Mozart horn concertos. Just had to order this due to the price. I was very pleased with the recordings. Ranks up there with the other greats (Brain, Civil, Tuckwell, Baumann)" Report Abuse
 Its not how they played its how they sounded. March 8, 2013 By Kenneth Bird (Lincoln, MO) See All My Reviews "This was one of three I purchased of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CDs. I have no problems with the way they interpreted the music but the recordings to me seem to lack the sonic quality I like in a CD. The overall sound seemed thin, like I was hearing it from the last seat in the auditorium. They require a lot of bass and treble equalization and even then they were not up to what I usually experience.Lack of presence may even be a better description. Of course they were "bargain" CDs and as my mother used to say, "You only get what you pay for". They are not bad enough to return but I will relegate them to the background music pile" Report Abuse
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