> Alphorn Concertos [HC]: Classical CD Reviews- Sept 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Leopold MOZART (1719-1787)
Sinfonia Pastorella for Alphorn and String Orchestra
Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000)

Concertino Rustico

Jean DAETWYLER (1907-1994)

Dialogue avec la nature

Concerto for Alphorn and Orchestra
(no dates given)
Jozsef Molnar, alphorn
Capella Istrapolitana
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Urs Schneider
Recorded in Moyzes Hall, Bratislava, Slovakia, 3rd - 10th May 1987.
NAXOS 8.555978 [61.47]


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The Swiss composer Jean Daetwyler has the lionís share here, and his two works for Alphorn are the most substantial ones in this release. Both were written for the present soloist who, after demonstrating the Alphornís possibilities, convinced the composer to embark on concertos for this most unusual instrument. The limited range of the instrument poses a number of problems which Daetwyler solved in his own way. In Dialogue avec la nature, he confronts Man (Alphorn) and the bird (piccolo) in a long first movement capped by a short lively Rondo. The Concerto for Alphorn and Orchestra is still more ambitious and, to some extent, musically more satisfying. It alternates two longer, mostly slow movements and two shorter, lively ones, of which the joyfully rural Hirtentanz is a delightful romp. The last movement is a darker Totentanz.

Ferenc Farkasís Concerto Rustico for Alphorn and strings is, to my mind, the most successful work here. That Farkas managed to impart to this work an unmistakable Hungarian feel is no mere feat. A really delightful piece.

Leopold Mozartís Sinfonia Pastorella might well have been one of the first "serious" compositions for Alphorn. Mozart père wrote several works for or with unusual instruments; no wonder that he also tried his hand at an Alphorn concerto, and a jolly good piece of music it is.

Excellent performances of these unfamiliar works unlikely to be heard in concerts. No masterpiece here, though Farkasís concerto is quite a nice rarity. An attractive collection of fine and entertaining works for a most unusual instrument. Well worth a hearing, were it only for curiosityís sake, especially at Naxosís bargain price.

Hubert Culot

See also review by Neil Horner


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