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Hyperion Records

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Still Life with Hunting Horn (1827) by Jean-Georges Hirn (1777-1839)
Track(s) taken from CDH55074
Recording details: July 1999
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2000
Total duration: 17 minutes 56 seconds

'I put the disc on and was immediately intrigued and delighted' (Early Music Review)

'Horn players will no doubt find much to interest and entertain them here' (International Record Review)

'Played with real style and verve by Andrew Clark and Geoffrey Govier' (BBC CD Review)

‘A tour de force for horn and piano … presents natural hornist Andrew Clark and fortepianist Geoffrey Govier as virtuosi of the first rank … A very enjoyable disk, full of joie de vivre and technical pyrotechnics as well as some beautiful Schubert melodies' (Historic Brass Society Newsletter)

Brillante Fantasie, Op 339 No 3
after Schubert songs

Fülle der Liebe  [2'01]
Gute Nacht  [1'17]
Die Forelle  [2'47]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Through the use of popular and well-loved melodies by Schubert in the Drei Brillante Fantasien, Czerny already satisfies several of his criteria for having his music liked, at the same time as paying tribute to one of Vienna’s most talented composers. All the melodies quoted would have been recognised in the 1830s, having been published in the previous decade (unlike many of Schubert’s songs and other works which waited several years after his death before being re-evaluated and put into print). While today we might consider such extensive ‘borrowing’ of another composer’s material to be unimaginative or plagiaristic, at that time it was held as a compliment and could serve to publicise a fellow composer’s work. Since the tone of good horn-players was often compared to that of the human voice, perhaps it is appropriate that the horn and piano combination is used here, especially if we draw a parallel with the different vowel sounds of the lyrics and the tonal variations achieved by the gradations of hand-stopping the bell of the natural horn.

Schubert’s themes are labelled in the score. The very first theme in the first Fantasy is worth a particular mention for the way the horn writing reflects the meaning of the song’s words. These describe the travels of ‘Der Wanderer’ who has come from the mountain range (‘Ich komme vom Gebirge her’). The first five notes being hand-stopped on a natural horn sound somewhat muted—as if they come from afar. Then, as the phrase develops, the sounds become open and present to show that he has arrived. This is an example of a composer exploiting the use of stopped and open notes to produce a musical image of the words of a song. An atmosphere is created by Czerny’s intelligent orchestration which he could easily have lost had he scored it for horn in D instead of F. This would have made the whole phrase sound quite open. On a modern horn all the notes would sound open as there are no instructions to hand-stop: they are taken for granted on the natural horn as that is the only way to produce those notes. Later in the same Fantasy we hear Schubert’s Trauerwalzer theme cleverly scored so that twenty out of twenty-two notes are stopped to produce a dark tone colour which matches the meaning (‘Trauer’ means ‘mourning’ or ‘bereavement’). Therefore an important aspect of the music is rediscovered when we hear it performed on appropriate historical instruments, such as those used on this recording.

from notes by Andrew Clark © 2000

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