for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.
La Musique de la Chasse Royale: Muzyka Królewskich
Jean Joseph MOURET (1682-1738)
Iere Suite de Symphonies - Gavotte (part 4) [3:23]
Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842)
Iere Sonate [2:05]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Trumpet Tune [2:42]
Jean Joseph MOURET Iere
Suite de Symphonies - Menuet (part 6) [2:29]; Iere Suite
de Symphonies - Allegro (part 2) [2:37]
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Der Freischütz: Huntsmen’s Chorus [1:50]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Water Music – Overture [1:58]; Water Music - Alla Hornpipe
? Carillon [3:02]
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Horn Concerto in D [5:33]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Horn concerto in D major – first movement (?)* [5:55]
Jacek Smoczynski (hunting horn)
Quartetto da caccia (Anna Kaczmarek, Helena Matuszewska (violins),
Julia Hanasz (viola), Cecylia Stanecka (cello); Jan Bokszczanin
rec. Church of St Rosalie, near Szelków, Poland, October/November
2010 and Church of St Anna, Warsaw, Poland, 2004*. DDD.
Booklet in Polish, English, French and German
ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0218 [35:11]
Everything about the presentation of this CD breathes luxury
with a glossy and informative 28-page booklet concerning which
my only grumble initially concerns the very small print. Or
so I thought until it came to identifying exactly what is on
this CD – as you’ll see below I can’t say exactly what parts
of which Telemann Trumpet Concerto in D, arranged for horn,
or of which Horn Concerto in D by Józef Haydn are on offer.
Whilst I’m being critical of the English section of the booklet,
Purcell’s Trumpet Tune also appears as his ‘Trumpet Tone’ and
‘chapel master’ is hardly an idiomatic translation of Kapellmeister
Look more closely at the small print on the rear tray insert
and you’ll be amazed to see that the playing time is just 35:09.
Actually, my CD deck says that Acte Préalable are underselling
themselves to the tune of two seconds and that’s the timing
that I’ve given in the heading, but that hardly prevents this
being the shortest CD that I’ve ever seen, apart from a handful
of jazz reissues of short LPs.
Nevertheless, the recording is valuable in at least two important
respects: it offers a selection of the music of Jean Joseph
Mouret and it allows us to hear it and other works performed
on the hunting horn, the grandfather of the modern instrument.
Mouret was a prolific composer for the French court and a CD
wholly or largely dedicated to his music is long overdue. There’s
very little of his music in the UK catalogue, mostly in elderly
performances, so I’m grateful for the three selections from
his Première Suite included here. They are,
however, all brief, amounting to less than nine minutes in all,
and serve only to whet the appetite, so I can’t help feeling
that an opportunity was missed to have brought us more, perhaps
even a whole CD, or at least enough to extend the playing time
to a respectable length.
I’d have loved to have had much more of Handel’s Water Music,
too. These are lively performances of the Overture and Alla
Hornpipe from the Suite in D/G and I enjoyed them almost
as much of those of the period-instrument King’s Consort (Hyperion
Helios CDH55375) except that Hyperion give us the whole Fireworks
Music and Water Music on a budget-price CD running to 68 minutes.
One horn and a string quartet cannot, of course, match the sizeable
wind and string ensemble (two horns alone) which Robert King
assembled for Hyperion, but the result is surprisingly effective.
The Telemann and Haydn concertos also exist in a number of other
recordings. Penalty points for not telling us which Telemann
work this is – ‘a horn concerto in D’, as the booklet describes
it won’t do: a TWV catalogue number would have helped. What
we are offered are a slow movement and finale – why not at least
add a couple of minutes playing time and include the first movement?
My exasperation is only increased by trying to work it out,
deciding that it doesn’t seem to be the best known horn concerto,
TWV51:D8, then discovering from the booklet that my search was
in vain; this is actually a transcription of a trumpet concerto.
Which one, please?
I thought that there would be no problem identifying the Haydn
Horn Concerto in D but, again, I’m not quite sure what we are
offered – it’s certainly not the opening movement of either
the Horn Concerto in D, Hob.VII:D3 or of the second concerto
Hob.VII:D4, as implied by ‘part 1’ in the track list and the
explicit statement in the booklet that it’s the first movement.
Nor does it appear to be the adagio slow movement of
The booklet is silent, too, about the provenance of the Carillon
on track 9; presumably it’s by that prolific composer Anonymous,
but it sounds like a modern confection borrowed from or in the
style of earlier music in the manner of ‘Albinoni’s’ (actually
Giazotto’s) Adagio. I have to admit to a very soft
spot for that work, despite its slurpiness and its almost certainly
bogus provenance, and I very much enjoyed the Carillon,
An earlier Acte Préalable recording that I reviewed, Cantos
de la España Antiqua (AP0060 - review)
was also somewhat deficient in terms of information and I made
a number of assumptions that earned me a bit of a rocket from
an expert on late medieval Iberian repertoire, so you will understand
why I’m being chary about filling in the booklet’s gaps this
As for the performances, the booklet describes the sound of
the valveless hunting horn in combination with a string quartet
– or with the organ on the final track – as almost magical and
that’s a description which I wholly endorse. Not only is the
actual sound beautiful but the solo performer’s ability to stay
more or less in tune is a bit of a miracle, too. This recording
allows Jacek Smoczynski to indulge his love of the horn and
of falconry simultaneously; presumably that’s his photo with
horn and falcon to hand on the inside front cover.
The recording balance very much favours the horn, but that’s
almost inevitable and certainly not inappropriate.
For all my reservations, and they are too serious to allow me
to make a positive reservation, the final impression with which
I came away from listening can be summed up as haunting. I’m
sorry that that’s as positive as I can be, especially as MusicWeb
International sell Acte Préalable recordings; at least you know
that when I do (frequently) recommend something that we sell,
my appraisals are unbiased.