La Grande Fanfare
Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842)
Sonatas for Horn and Strings (1804): no 1 in F major; no 2 in F major (versions for string quartet) [10:12]
Johann Gottlieb GRAUN (1702/3-1771)
Quartet in E flat major [8:57]
Wezeslaus Leopold KOHL (1753-?)
Horn Quartet, Op. 3, No. 3 [12:04]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Divertimento a 3 per il corno di caccia in E flat major, Hob.IV:5 [8:39]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Quintet for Horn, Violin, 2 Violas and Cello in E flat major, K 407 (386c) (1782) [17:24]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
La Grande Fanfare (1828) [2:14]
Alessio Allegrini (French Horn)
I Solisti della Scala, Milano
rec. 4-6 October 2000, Bayerischer Rundfunk, München. DDD
TUDOR 7101 [61:58]
Balancing the horn against a string quartet takes some doing. To be assertive enough to square up to the horn the quartet must be vividly and closely recorded. The horn needs to be given its head. The Tudor team - engineers from Bayerischer Rundfunk, München and Südwestrundfunk Baden-Baden - carry all this off with aplomb. This may not be a concert-hall balance but it is deeply satisfying for the listener at home or out and about. Alessio Allegrini is secure and totally convincing whether in cantabile or in drama or in chasseur knockabout. The quartet are a practised and eloquent group well able to vary dynamics and vie with the soloist in artistic sensitivity - listen to the quietly inward playing in the lovely Adagio of the Kohl. The two Cherubini Sonatas soliloquise in plaintive tones before - in the case of No. 2 - throwing such emotions to the winds in favour of Weberian exuberance. The succinct Graun, like the Kohl (a Bohemian), is very pleasing indeed. Its mercurially playful and muscularly brash Mozartean accents alternate with gentler emotions in the Allegro. The concise Haydn Divertimento is variously lugubrious and pawky. The Mozart stand high in this company. It’s a doughty work with a deeper emotional palette than its companions here. This warm performance is very fine indeed as to pacing and ensemble. It’s dedicated to the same Salzburg resident who attracted the dedication and guying of the Mozart horn concertos: Joseph Leutgeb. By the way the finale of the Kohl uses, in its final Rondo, the same theme deployed by Mozart in his K417 but well before the Mozart concerto. We end with the towering sound of Rossini’s confident La Grande Fanfare solo - seeming to sound the end of an eventful hunting day and to call out to huntsmen in fields far away and resounding with their replies. Allegrini’s gloriously brassy performance rips down any cobwebs. The notes are good and as ever Tudor’s designs are tasteful. If the repertoire appeals you need have no reservations.
Rob Barnett 
If the repertoire appeals you need have no reservations.