Boldin Plays Krol

Looking at the stats for this blog, one of the most popular posts is about Bernhard Krol’s Laudatio for Solo Horn. It is a great piece, and gets performed frequently by both students and professionals (cover image linked from My initial idea with that post was to provide a bit of background information on Laudatio, and to hopefully point people in the right direction if they were looking for recordings and/or other resources. However, I forgot to include a couple of things in that article, one of them being a recording of me performing the piece on a guest recital at Appalachian State University in March, 2008. I remember feeling pretty good about that recital, and although the Krol isn’t perfect I think it’s a pretty convincing interpretation. The 16th notes near the end got a bit too fast – chalk that up to adrenaline – but overall I’m still happy with the pacing throughout. Here’s the recording.

There are a number of valid interpretations out there, and I think it’s very important to try several possibilities when putting together your own particular take on a piece. There are several wonderful recordings of Laudatio – I listed three in my earlier article – but the most inspiring performance I’ve ever heard was Hermann Baumann live at the Kendall Betts Horn Camp in 2004. Though Baumann was obviously still coping with some of the aftereffects of his stroke six years earlier, the performance was as engaging and musically satisfying as any I’ve heard. I especially remember being struck by his confident and commanding stage presence – he performed from memory as well!

Baumann Plays BWV 14

J.S. Bach is known for his difficult horn writing, most famously in the first Brandenburg Concerto and the Mass in B minor, but many of his cantatas also feature some extreme writing as well.  Historical research has shown that many of these parts may have in fact been played by trumpet players, but modern professional horn players can and do play these parts, and play them well!  One of the most impressive examples comes from the cantata Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14.  Check out this YouTube video featuring Hermann Baumann.  You can view the score on IMSLP here. The excerpt featured here begins on page 17, and the horn part is notated in B-flat alto.

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