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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Quintet for Horn and Strings K407
Bernard HEIDEN (b.1910)

Quintet for French Horn and String Quartet (1952)
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)

Piano Quartet in A minor (1931)
Mason Jones (horn) with the Philarte Quartet (David Booth, 2nd violin plays viola in the Mozart and piano in the Turina)
Recorded 1979
GASPARO GSS 2003 [52.31]


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There is some nice programming here, centring around, but not wholly concentrated upon, the august figure of Mason Jones, for over forty years the principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I don’t know how many performances of the Mozart Quintet he has given over the years but this one was enshrined on an LP originally issued in 1979, the year after his retirement from his orchestral position. It receives a warmly sympathetic reading. With it is coupled Bernard Heiden’s Quintet. Heiden was born in Frankfurt in 1910 and studied with Hindemith at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin before leaving for America in 1935 where he eventually joined Indiana University’s music faculty. His Quintet was written for horn player John Barrows in 1952 and is a thoroughly idiomatic, splendidly written piece in four movements. It does show the influence of Hindemith, certainly, and with it an often open-hearted lyricism. The second movement in particular has an admonitory and urgent character and a vein of neo-classicism running through it as well. His Andantino is taut and affecting in an aloofly noble way and the concluding Rondo is perky, with folk influences and plenty of rhythmic joie de vivre and energy.

The Turina, sans Mason of course, makes an invigorating disc mate. The Piano Quartet dates from 1931 and is shaped in slow-fast-slow fashion. The opening movement is saturated in folk lyricism, the piano primus inter pares at such moments in laying down rhythmic patterns and the strings responding with pensive and slow pleading lines. The central panel is a gloriously swaying and surging movement, caked in Spanish drama whilst the finale opens in declamatory fashion before the piano takes up the strings’ theatre and softens it into romantic flourish. The Philarte Quartet sound thoroughly inside the idiom and they convey it admirably and without exaggeration.

This is one of Gasparo’s slimline issues with the notes folded over and tucked into the casing. It makes track identification somewhat difficult but gives you all you need to know about the music and that’s the main thing.

Jonathan Woolf

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