Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Complete Horn Concertos and Fragments
Horn Concerto No.1 in D Major, K412 [12:48]
Horn Concerto No.2 in E-flat Major, K417 [13:35]
Horn Concerto No.3 in E-flat Major, K447 [14:53]
Horn Concerto No.4 in E-flat Major, K495 [16:27]
Horn Concerto No."0" in E-flat Major, K370b (arr. Tuckwell) [10:06]
Fragment in E Major, K.anh98A [3:13]
Barry Tuckwell (horn)
Philharmonia Orchestra/Barry Tuckwell
rec. July 1990, Abbey Road, London
ALTO ALC-1107 [71:20]
See also review by Rob Barnett
Some may argue that the Anglo-Australian horn lineage runs Brain-Civil-Tuckwell, and if so then that’s a lineage of which to be proud. Civil tends to be overlooked, because he had fewer opportunities to record, but Tuckwell has recorded a great swathe of the repertory, sometimes multiply. That applies in particular to the Mozart horn concertos.
This set with the Philharmonia – unnecessarily tagged ‘Philharmonia Orchestra, London’ by Alto – was originally recorded in 1991 for Collins Classics (1153-2). It was preceded by a similarly self-directed set with the ECO on Decca, the ASMIF with Marriner on ASD and the famous LSO/Maag on Decca. Maag was one of the most insinuating and delightful conductors of Mozart – and Mendelssohn – of his time, and this set is an absolute winner. There’s certainly a case to be made for the legato supremacy of his Maag recording, and also for the less prominent balance which I happen to like.
His Philharmonia recording however is not to be ignored. He is rich-toned as ever, with a burnish to the cantilena that never fails to impress. Perhaps the playing now and then is a bit ‘plump’, but that’s not to detract from the regal playing as such. The quite forward placement of the soloist ensures that we can hear his tonal production in all its roundness and fullness, something put to great effect in the slow movement of the Second concerto. The finale of the work is dispatched with lordly wit, and amiably accompanied. Similarly the slow movement of the Third Concerto is nicely measured, weighted and spun, and the tension generated is happily relieved by a tiptoeing Rondeau finale. The final concerto is also splendidly delivered and if you do find the horn too recessive in the Maag recording then here you’ll find it centre-stage and pleasingly forward.
As a bonus we have the Concerto No. ‘0’ in Tuckwell’s arrangement and a Fragment in E. We also have the Sussmayr arrangement of the Rondo finale to the First Concerto in addition to the standard version. Another welcome bonus.
Regal playing and a forwardly placed soloist.