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Concerto Works-4 Horns & Orch

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Performer: Sinfonia Varsovia, Wisniewski American Horn Quartet
  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (Dec 13 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B000BRJY0Y
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,052 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Lebhaft
2. Romanze
3. Sehr Lebhaft
4. Concerto In F Major
5. Overture
6. Die kanonierende Pallas
7. Das Alster-Echo
8. Die Hamburgischen Glockenspiele
9. Der Schwanengesang
10. Der Alsterschafer Dorfmusik
11. Die Konzertierenden Frosche Und Krahen
12. Der Ruhende Pan
13. Der Schafer Und Nymphen Eilfertiger Abzug
14. Allegro
15. Adagio
16. Menuet
17. Finale: Moderato

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The American Horn Quartet is a group of fabulous performers! This recording of the Schumann work is a must for all lovers of the French Horn. The other material is good as well but the Schumann is really special.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa8ccf7e0) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8ccfe4c) out of 5 stars CORNUCOPIA May 18 2006
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This disc is perfectly brilliant, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Strictly speaking, only two of the four works given here are concertos, the other two being standard orchestral pieces with prominent work for the horns. Haydn's is one of his early symphonies from his Esterhazy period featuring also solos for cello and violin in its slow movement and a long finale consisting of a set of variations in a kind of gavotte rhythm giving the spotlight to various other members of the orchestra, notably flute and viola da gamba. The Telemann `overture' is a suite in nine movements, along the lines of Handel's Water Music or Fireworks Music but with more pictorial and representational elements. The contribution from Handel himself is a short introduction and andante, suggestive of a formal occasion and with the introduction using material familiar from the Fireworks Music.

The real cracker is Schumann's short concerto, in the usual 3-movement layout. This was described by Tovey as nearly unplayable, but today's virtuosi seem to be afraid of nothing. They even restore some high notes that Schumann revised out of the score, and what a thrilling effect they make. The four soloists are the lead horn-players, American by nationality, in various European orchestras, and they cover themselves with distinction from start to finish. Four virtuoso horn solos naturally take the limelight off the orchestra, but the Sinfonia Varsovia acquit themselves splendidly, particularly in the Haydn symphony where the treatment of the instruments is more democratic and all sections of the band get their chance to shine.

The recording, from Warsaw in 2003, is excellent, and the liner-note, although brief, is helpful and informative, although I would have been glad to be told more about the Handel piece. There are also horn parts of startling difficulty in two of Handel's Concerti a Due Cori, and it would have been interesting to know how he managed to find players of this calibre. It is unusual for him to over-tax his English orchestral players, no doubt for sound reasons of experience, and he surely must have felt a high degree of confidence to write in this way for horns.

As usual with Naxos, there are potted biographies of the soloists and the conductor plus a short history of the orchestra. Also as usual, I wish to praise Naxos in the strongest terms for the imagination and flair they dependably display in finding unfamiliar music of high quality, making a superb job of the production of it, and giving it to us at such a modest cost - apart from anything else there is a full hour and a quarter of music here. I make no apology for constantly repeating this sentiment, indeed I only hope I shall still be doing just that for a good few years to come.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8e4f660) out of 5 stars This CD makes you want to take up the Horn! April 15 2009
By P. Matychuk - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
All of the pieces on this CD are simply first rate, but for me, the Schumann gem alone is worth the price. Its stunning presentation here is beyond reproach. These guys make this unbelievably difficult music seem effortless as they soar, literally, to insane heights. Virtuosity, thy name is the American Horn Quartet. And so what if the picture on the cover is of a natural horn? I think it's a nice touch.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8c62aec) out of 5 stars Telemann Unbuttoned, Haydn Riding with the Hounds Oct. 7 2009
By Gio - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
High spirits! Haydn's Symphony #31 "The Hunt" and Telemann's extended suite of whacky 'Musikalische Spassen' are all about Fun, about high spirits. If you don't enjoy this CD, you're obviously a horrid sourpuss. So there!

The Handel overture for four horns is a crafty reworking, by Handel himself, of a section of the Water Music. The Telemann Overture/Suite in F major "Alster Echo" includes some of the strangest and most 'experimental' music of the baroque era. A lot of it is pictorial, with the Bells of Hamburg, a village dance, and the Chorus of Frogs and Crows sounding just as their titles suggest. If Telemann's broad bumptious humor reminds me of anyone, it would be Mozart, especially the Mozart of The Musical Joke. Musicologists estimate that Telemann wrote over a thousand such suites. That's a daunting thought. I just read in the morning newspaper that there are thousands of Americans, fans of Mel Gibson I suppose, who sincerely believe that the World will end in 2012, according to a prophecy of the Maya calendar. Uf ta! How will I be able to listen to all of Telemann's 1000 suites in a mere two years? Let alone read that stack of books by my bedside?

This performance by the Sinfonia Varsavia is not on true baroque instruments, but the sensibilities of the ensemble are sufficiently attuned to the baroque to make it stylish. Likewise the American Horn Quartet plays on modern valved French horns; the four horners are the principals from four American orchestras. Perhaps it's another bit of humor that the cover of this CD shows an authentic natural horn, but it takes only moments of listening to tell the difference. The modern horn is mellifluously muffled. But good musicianship will triumph; these guys play mighty well, so well in fact that I - the notorious snob who maintains that Bach ought never to be played on a piano and that only the baroque trumpet can properly call the Dead to rise - like this CD quite a lot!

Postscript: The performance of the Telemann Alster Echo Ouverture by Simon Standage and Collegium Musicum 90, on Chandos, is far superior to this recording, not only because it's on original instruments but because it's better played in every way.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8dfc2e8) out of 5 stars Superb on All Counts Dec 22 2005
By W. Harwood - Published on
Format: Audio CD
As a long time horn player and fan of Naxos, this is the perfect recording for those music lovers who don't know the richness of the four-horn literature. It it indeed limited when compared to most other interumental ensembles, such as a string quartet, but this is the best and most accessible recording on the market to introduce neophytes to this sonic wonderland. The playing is exceptional, as the AHQ is a solid, professional, touring outfit, the balances fine, the interpretations solid, and above all FUN. Buy it. Enjoy it. Encourage your friends and children to learn to play the horn, if they dare and want to play like this.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8ca69fc) out of 5 stars Great Album Feb. 18 2006
By S. Shoger - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a great, explosive album. The choice of music is, of course, fantastic, and the execution of them pieces is well done. I highly reccommend it.