The hornists of the Bavarian State Orchestra play music for horn ensemble
Robert Schumann once said: "The horns are the soul of the orchestra." And the horn really is more than just an instrument. It possesses an almost unlimited spectrum of tone colours, it covers a range of more than four octaves, its sound can be modified with a mute, and it is the most organic, human and vocal of all the instruments. However, the full dimensions of its immense versatility are revealed only when a horn is not played alone, but when nine horns experiment simultaneously with their sound, exploring their furthest creative limits and communicating with one another.
The repertoire on this new CD fully reflects the versatility of the horn: The "medley" of the most beautiful passages from "Lohengrin" shows all the tonal capabilities of the horn to best advantage. In Piazzolla's tango classic "Oblivion", the sound of the bandoneon is deliberately imitated, while in Gabrieli's "Canzon", two quartets mutually pose and answer questions. In his Bach arrangements, Franz Kanefzky, hornist in the Munich Radio Orchestra, focuses on the subdued, intimate expressive possibilities of the horn, while with Verdi, the mighty "Aida" horns come into play. The hornists even once remove the bells from their instruments to gain the full effect for Verdi's impressive fanfare sound. Srnka's "splendid blowing" (as the hornists call it) features quarter tones and all kinds of technical effects. It quickly became clear that the "Munich Opera Horns" can cause even contemporary composers to agree with Robert Schumann's opinion of their instrument. "The horn ensemble is unique among the brass instruments in its variety of registers, dynamic extremes, almost string-like homogeneity of sound and agile virtuosity," Srnka said enthusiastically after finishing his composition.
"… One of the best and most memorable experiences in my career as a conductor was my encounter with the horn sound of the Bavarian State Orchestra. The secure intonation, the precision and clarity in harmonies, the homogeneity of vibration, the broad range of articulation, the power, the mystery, the magical enchantment - ! I could do nothing but marvel and admire, and I understood how valuable and crucially important it is for the specific quality of an orchestra to have a horn section as good as this one…" Kent Nagano
... This disc is very enjoyable ... Henry Fogel, 2013