Two More Interesting Websites for Horn Players

Recently I came across websites for two well-known
professional horn players, Peter Damm (
and Hugh Seenan ( Neither player
requires much in the way of an introduction, except to say that
they are at the top of their field, with numerous recordings,
publications, and other significant contributions. Looking first
at Peter Damm’s website, be sure to check out his publications and scholarly editions of music.
Unfortunately, the articles listed there have not yet been
translated from German, but he does have several articles in
The Horn Call which have been translated.
Another interesting page concerns the instruments Professor Damm has used
over the years for various kinds of repertoire. Here’s a brief
synopsis of the makes and models – with the repertoire played on
them – culled from this page.

  • Walter Mönnig,
    single b-flat/single b-flat with A slide: operas, Haydn concertos,
    Weber Concertino, Danzi Concerto, Lortzing Concert Piece
  • Engelbert Schmid, single b-flat with A and B slides: solo
    concertos, performances with historic organs
  • Engelbert Schmid, double horn with stopping valve:
    orchestral concerts
  • Walter Mönnig, descant
    horn in B-flat/F-alto with separate A/E-alto tuning slide: Baroque
    works by Quantz, Zelenka, Heinichen, Telemann, Fasch
  • Friedbert Syhre, piccolo horn in F-alto/B-flat alto: horn
    and organ recitals
  • Other horns by H. F. Knopf
    and Yamaha: chamber music
  • Mouthpieces by
    Wunderlich, Christoph Werner Schmidt, Friedbert Syhre: matched to
    specific instruments

My first thought after
reading and digesting all of this information was “wow, that’s a
lot of horns!” However, when you think about it, matching horns to
repertoire is no different than what trumpet players do (although I
will admit this is an extreme example). The bottom line, though, is
that Damm has found what works for him, and isn’t constrained by
the idea that you have to do everything on one horn and/or
mouthpiece. There’s plenty more great information on this site, and
it’s well worth spending some time on it. Moving on to Hugh
Seenan’s site, it seems to be set up with more of a promotional
(rather than informational) goal in mind. It’s clean, and very
well-designed, with some great audio
of Mr. Seenan in action. Another must-read page on
this site is his biography, which contains some
wonderful photographs of the horn sections from the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, and London
Symphony, as well as several recording sessions. With so much
information available on the web, it’s often tough to separate
useful sites from not-so-useful ones. Finding new (at least to me)
and interesting sites like the ones above is always fun and
refreshing. Have you found any new and/or interesting horn or
brass-related sites lately? Feel free to comment

CD Review: Die schönsten Hornkonzerte

I first heard of this collection of classic horn recordings through a Naxos podcast.  This 2 CD set is a re-release of many historically important recordings by primarily German players, including Wilhelm Bruns, Erich Penzel, Peter Damm, and Hermann Baumann.  The title, Die schönsten Hornkonzerte, is translated as “The Most Beautiful Horn Concertos.”  All of the tracks are fantastic, and the repertoire includes Mozart’s four concertos and horn quintet, Telemann’s Concerto in D and Concerto in E-flat for Two Horns, Robert Schmann’s Konzertstück, Strauss’s Concerto No. 1, and Handel’s Suite No. 1 from the Water Music.

The Mozart recordings are performed on hand horn by Wilhelm Bruns, along with the Mannheim Mozart Orchestra (Thomas Fey, conductor) and the Quadriga-Quartet.  Bruns plays these pieces beautifully, and he isn’t afraid to lean into the covered notes on the hand horn, nor does he shy away from a brilliant, heroic sound, especially in the Rondo movements.  The orchestral playing is fantastic, and listeners will immediately notice the presence of the two orchestral horn players in the 2nd and 4th concertos.

Erich Penzel delivers a refined and tasteful rendition of the Telemann pieces – unfortunately the second horn player on the concerto for two horns is not listed –  with a lightness of articulation not often heard on other recordings.  He is accompanied by the Collegium aureum, Franz Joseph Maier, conductor.

Two of the biggest highlights are Peter Damm’s recording of Schumann’s Konzertstück, with the Staatskapelle Dresden Horn Quartet and Orchestra, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.  There are now so many fine recordings of the Schumann available that this one tends to get lost, but it really is worth having in your library.  As one might expect, Hermann Baumann’s recording of Strauss’s Concerto No. 1 with the Cologne Symphony Orchestra under Günter Wand is sublime.  Brilliant fortes, liquid slurs, and impeccable phrasing are all present here.

The Handel suite is also noteworthy, performed here by hornists Franceso Roselli and Willy Küchler, along with the Festival Strings Lucerne, conducted by Rudolf Baumgartner. Not surprisingly, what I like most is the presence of the two horn players.  They are easily heard at all times, but not overbearing.

Multiple recordings of these works should be in every horn player’s library, and they are available here all in one place.

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