Mozart • T Mad­sen

BBC Music Magazine - - Concerto Reviews -

Mozart: Horn Con­cer­tos Nos 1-4;

T Mad­sen: In­vi­ta­tion to a Jour­ney with Mozart…

Christoph Ess (horn); Ger­man Horn­sound; Folk­wang Cham­ber Orches­tra Essen/jo­hannes Klumpp Gen­uin GEN 18618 71:27 mins

Mozart’s ★orn Con­cer­tos were writ­ten not in a group, but at in­ter­vals through­out his life, so their pre­sen­ta­tion here in chrono­log­i­cal se­quence (the Köchel cat­a­logue num­bers are mis­lead­ing in that re­spect) makes nat­u­ral sense. Since the early horn of the pe­riod was fa­mously tir­ing to play, each con­certo is fairly short, with a first move­ment usu­ally last­ing as long as the slow sec­ond and rondo-form third com­bined. Even Mozart must have felt re­stricted some­times by the for­mat, as the un­re­mark­able K417 con­certo makes clear. Its K495 coun­ter­part duly im­presses all the more; its fi­nale was im­mor­tally satirised by the Flan­ders and Swann comedy duo in the 1960s, so that the gor­geous ex­pan­sive glow of the Al­le­gro maestoso first move­ment – truly vin­tage Mozart – tends to be over­looked. Christoph Ess’s high-oc­tane mas­tery (he is prin­ci­pal horn of the Bam­berg Sym­phony Orches­tra), plus warmly classy pe­riod-style ac­com­pa­ni­ments from the Folk­wang Cham­ber Orches­tra, to­gether keep any trace of monotony at arm’s length dur­ing four con­cer­tos on the trot. The CD book­let tells us noth­ing of Ess’s thoughts (which would surely be in­ter­est­ing) on his use of a mod­ern valved horn rather than the valve-less in­stru­ment of Mozart’s time, and mis­trans­lates his words on the K412 con­certo’s unfin­ished Rondo; far from sup­plant­ing Mozart pupil Franz Süss­mayr’s ver­sion with Robert Levin’s new one, he here plays both.

Trygve Mad­sen’s In­vi­ta­tion to a Jour­ney, writ­ten for Ess’s horn quar­tet ‘ger­man horn­sound’ and de­ploy­ing the Mozart con­cer­tos’ var­i­ous themes for each of the four play­ers, is in­ven­tive, en­gag­ing, and a gen­uine de­light. Mal­colm Hayes PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

Sound tracks: Tri­fonov’s lat­est is first class

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