Alec Frank-Gemmill Shows Merit of Horn Concertos Before Mozart

Alec Frank-Gemmill is making a point with this recording. For many horn soloists, Mozart’s concertos are the earliest works in their repertoire. Frank-Gemmill contends that there was plenty of good material that predated them.

Frank-Gemmill opens with a 1740 concerto by Christoph Förster. Although primarily an organist, Förster wrote about
50 concertos. He was also a younger colleague of Telemann, and his music is similar in style.

The Horn Concerto in D major by Telemann follows. Compared to Forster’s light and breezy work, it seems somewhat more formal and elegant.

Also included is a Sinfonia da Camera by Leopold Mozart. It features an interesting interplay between the horn and the first violin. Frank-Gemmill’s trills are immaculately executed, beautifully ornamenting the melody.

The Horn Concerto No. 1 by Haydn is technically “before Mozart,” as it dates from 1762. And yet stylistically it’s closer to Mozart than any of the other works. The extreme dynamic shifts of Sturm und Drang are in play. That, plus the expanded range of the horn makes this an ideal work to end the program. Frank-Gemmill’s codas are impressive — check out the harmonics at the end of the first movement!

Yes, none of these horn concertos is by Mozart. But as Frank-Gemmill demonstrates they hold up quite well on their own merits.

Before Mozart: Early Horn Concertos
Christoph Förster: Horn Concerto [No. 1] in E flat major
Georg Philipp Telemann: Horn Concerto in D major, TWV 51:D8
Johann Baptist Georg Neruda: Horn Concerto in E flat major
Leopold Mozart: Sinfonia da camera (Sinfonie in D major,
Franz Joseph Haydn: Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, Hob. VIId:3

Alec Frank-Gemmill, horn
Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas McGegan, conductor
BIS Records 2315

More Recent Posts

  • 44 Trumpet Master Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Looking Forward

    Tags: , , , ,

    Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Since he began recording at nineteen, now thirty-eight year old Christian Scott ATunde Adjuah has been developing one of the most distinguishable trumpet sounds in jazz or as he prefers “creative improvised music.” A nephew of alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr., he is graduate of the storied New Orleans Center for […]

  • New Blues News – 6/15/2021

    New Blues News – 6/15/2021 Caroline Dahl – A Boogie Woogie State Of Mind (Self-produced): Pianist Caroline Dahl is a native of Kentucky but has made San Francisco her home for thirty years, playing both solo and in bands. On her latest disc she is joined by a slew of Bay Area stalwarts, including two […]

  • Classical Interviews – Broadway in the Park

    Charlottesville Opera performed Broadway favorites like ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘From My Fair Lady’ on Saturday, June 12th. Sharin Apostolou, a greek-american soprano and Charlottesville Opera’s Ader Artist-in-Residence, tells us about the event. She spoke to WTJU about the cast’s backgrounds, the shift back to in-person performances, and the Open Air Season. The Open Air […]

  • Classical Interviews – Opera In The Park

    Charlottesville Opera presents Opera in the Park this week as as part of their 43rd Summer Season. Grab a ticket to hear 10 young artists preform the world’s greatest opera hits on June 17th at 7pm and check out the rest of their Open Air Season in the links below. WTJU spoke with rising stars […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 6/15/2021

    New Jazz News – 6/15/2021 Dave Bass – The Trio, Vol. 1 (Self-produced): “This Cincinnati Kid attended Berklee, studied with the legendary Madame Chaloff gleaning an exquisite touch on piano and an appreciation for the spirituality of music. He also opened for Captain Beefheart, studied composition with George Russell, and toured the world with Brenda […]

  • Legendary Memphis drummer Howard Grimes calls in to Soulful Situation on Monday, June 21

    On Monday, June 21 at 12:30 p.m., the Rum Cove welcomes two special guests to WTJU’s Soulful Situation: Preston Loauterbach, author of The Chitlin Circuit and the Road to Rock and Roll and Beale Street Dynasty, will be interviewing Howard “Bulldog” Grimes. Grimes, now 80 years old, is a legendary Memphis drummer and author of […]