Dudamel with the Vienna Philharmonic, or What Kind of Horn is That?

Over the last few days I’ve been watching bits and pieces of Gustavo Dudamel leading the Vienna Philharmonic in the closing concert of the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. This concert was streamed live, and is available to watch for free (!) for a limited time on Medici TV.  The program is listed below.

Rossini, Overture to La Gazza Ladra; Julian Orbon, Tres Versiones Sinfonicas; Bernstein, Divertimento for Orchestra; Ravel, Pavane for a Dead Princess, and Bolero

The performance, as expected, is amazing, with some great horn playing in every work.  I was of course very interested in Ravel’s Pavane, because of the ethereal horn solo at the beginning.  I’m not sure who the solo horn player is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Wolfgang Tomboeck.  Another thing which caught my eye was the equipment he was using.  In the screenshot, you can see that this is not the traditional Vienna horn, but rather a very interesting looking rotary valve horn.  I’m not entirely sure what key it’s in, but based on the fingerings I saw I would guess F.  It certainly doesn’t sound like a single high F horn, and the first valve slide looks too long for that as well, so possibly a single horn in High E-flat, even though the fingerings didn’t look right to me?  Anyone else out there have any guesses?  By the way, their horn section sounds great, regardless of the equipment!

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Equipment, Instruments


The chap in the photo is Thomas Joelbst, I think Tomboeck is playing 4th certainly in the Rossini he is, Ronald Janeciz is also playing 1st in the Rossini.


There’s a single F-alto horn on sale on ebay at the moment, located in Austria, that is something like it. So also is the Alexander 105. So my money’s on a single F-alto. I expect he complies with Wiener Phil ‘rules’ by only having 3 valves!

Janezic and Lars-Michael Stransky are currently named as the solo horn principals. My money is on Tomboeck gently easing his way back into the ranks in preparation for retirement. Solo horn in Wiener Phil is very much a youth culture (Berger was 19 when he recorded the Long Call with Solti), and the nature of the orchestra–a private club–means that once a member, you’re always a member, even, I think, after you’ve actually retired from playing.


So I wish people did their research… the horn player shown is Thomas Jöbstl, whom is now the principal solo horn of the Vienna Philharmonic. He is the second youngest in the Philharmonic today (Huber recently took over as youngest.)

He is playing at Alexander alto horn (in Bb or F, rumored to be Bb, but only he will know at this point.)

If you look, you will also notice he played it for the horn solo in Bolero as well.


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