BBC Music Magazine


- 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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