BBC Music Magazine - - The Full Score - Franz Strauss

Born player Richard Watkins in­tro­duces three rar­i­ties from his record col­lec­tion

Hin­demith Horn Con­certo

Dennis Brain (horn); Phil­har­mo­nia/ Paul Hin­demith Regis RRC1407

This rarely per­formed work is some­thing of a mys­tery as it seems to ex­ploit the nim­ble­ness and lyri­cism of the horn, cap­tur­ing the soul of the in­stru­ment. A unique fea­ture is the in­clu­sion of a poem by Hin­demith in the last move­ment, which the soloist is di­rected to play in a recita­tive style, word­lessly recit­ing the poem. The recorded sound cap­tures the pu­rity of Dennis Brain’s tone and the ef­fort­less ease of his play­ing. Ruth Gipps Horn Con­certo David Py­att (horn); Lpo/ni­cholas Braith­waite Lyrita SRCD316

Per­haps Ruth Gipps suf­fered from be­ing ‘un­fash­ion­able’ at the time, but hap­pily this is be­ing re­dressed now. Gipps has her own in­di­vid­ual voice, ex­ploit­ing the full range of the in­stru­ment to add to the vir­tu­os­ity of the writ­ing, although you wouldn’t know it lis­ten­ing to David Py­att’s bril­liant play­ing. It’s a very ac­ces­si­ble work with won­der­ful ethe­real tex­tures and per­haps a nod to some of Brit­ten’s op­er­atic sound­world. Horn Con­certo Barry Tuck­well (horn);

Lso/ist­van Kertesz

Decca 475 7634

Franz Strauss, fa­ther of Richard, was the prin­ci­pal horn of the Bavar­ian Court Or­ches­tra and played in the pre­mieres of many Wag­ner operas. The con­duc­tor Hans von Bülow de­scribed him as the ‘Joachim of the Horn’ be­fore adding ‘the fel­low is in­tol­er­a­ble but when he plays his horn you can’t be an­gry with him’. In spite of this love-hate re­la­tion­ship, Strauss wrote pro­lif­i­cally for the horn and the Con­certo com­bines every as­pect of its ca­pa­bil­ity. It re­ally is the per­fect in­tro­duc­tion to the rich­ness and va­ri­ety of Strauss’s horn writ­ing. Richard Watkins ap­pears on The Ro­man­tic Horn, which is re­viewed on page 94

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