Louis François DAUPRAT
Grand Sextet in C for six horns [40:01]
Die Detmolder Hornisten (Michael Höltzel, Koichi Noda, Vincent
Levesque, Laura Hall, Armin Suppan, Jürgen Haspelmann (French
rec. Martin-Luther-Kirche, Detmold, Germany, 1982. DDD
MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG3240087-2 [40:01]
This is a re-issue of a disc originally released in the early
1980s, and then again in 1998. There seems to be no special
reason for a second re-issue in 2011, with the very same label
number and cover as 1998 - no obvious anniversaries, for example.
The booklet is unenlightening - it appears to be identical to
the second release, right down to the catalogue number and CD
cover artwork, and MDG's website sheds no light at all on the
Perhaps then it has been re-issued simply because the music
and performances are plain irresistible? Well, those are indeed
the facts of the matter - Louis Dauprat and the Detmold Hornists
may not be household names, but the Sextet is an outstanding,
possibly unique work, and this ensemble, named after their base
in Germany, have superb intonation and expressiveness.
Neither the date of composition nor of publication of the Sextet
are known, but some time between 1810 and 1827 seems likely
for both. The work is fairly conservative, with little of the
innovation characteristic of Antonín Rejcha's wind quintets,
which were composed around this time, and indeed written in
part for Dauprat, who studied with Rejcha from 1811 to 1814.
The work begins at a slow tempo, Lento, and generally stays
that way, never faster than Allegro moderato. Dauprat was anything
but a showman, and the Sextet is absolutely a model of
Classical balance, restraint and elegance, overflowing with
melody and warming like a late-summer evening in Provence. Six
French horns may not sound much like an ideal combination for
wind ensemble, but Dauprat presents here a convincing counter-argument.
As a French horn soloist and teacher as well as a composer,
Dauprat wrote almost exclusively for his instrument - his relatively
small body of works includes four horn concertos and a concertino,
six quartets for four horns, four trios for three horns and
twenty-six duos for two horns, as well as similar works for
combinations involving a single horn. His Méthode
de Cor Alto et Cor Basse is still a highly influential handbook
for students and teachers.
The recording is very good, especially considering that this
is 'DDD' as it was in 1982. A couple of years ago Richard Burdick
performed all six parts in a recording for I Ching Music, reviewed
It does sound as if a millisecond or two might have been chopped
off track beginnings - there is no hint of any normal intake
of breath here as there is elsewhere.
The CD booklet itself is no great shakes, with just a few cursory
paragraphs of notes on Dauprat and even less on the Sextet
and performers. Surely a re-release warrants at least some updated
material? After all, leader Michael Höltzel's Detmold days
are long gone, and internet searches reveal that the Detmolder
Hornisten appear to be kaputt as an ensemble.
Any potential purchaser will be bound to wonder why they are
being asked to pay this much (whatever the price) for a disc
that is half empty; MDG's excuse that "that was how we did it
in those days" is hardly likely to elicit many reactions of