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CD Feature/ Hermann Baumann: "Horn Concertos"

img  Tobias

Leopold Mozart must be one of the most wretched men in  the history of music. Not only has he become known as the father who drilled his children into genial submission, feeding off the talent of his superstar son. He must also have suffered from the widely accepted notion that his own capacities as a composer were barely mediocre and that Wolfgang Amade got ahead of him while still wearing diapers. Quite a few recent releases have proved this naive picture wrong. This is one of them.

Do note, however that “Horn Concertos” is not a Mozart-album. Instead, it features a quartet of outstanding composers of the 18th century, which the booklet text somewhat excessively dubs “the time of the greatest creative talents”: Pokorny, Witt and Rössler line up next to Leopold in a display of superb melodic inventiveness. If this was really meant to be “only” functional music, then its function stretches well beyond serving as aural wall paper. These five concertos are full of energy, inspiration, kindness and they hold a catchy and contageous kind of enthusiasm – I had people knocking on my door on a sunny day, asking what I was listening to (instead of complaining about the volume). And contrary to the popular myth that all music from this era sounds the same, each composer has his very own distinctive characteristics: Leopold is the man of contrasts, juxtaposing almost corny hunting motives with stark and visionary Andantes. Pokorny comes across as the traditionalist with a heart of gold and Rössler as passionate and energetic. But it is Friedrich Witt, who stands out, if only for the ten minute long first movemement of his contribution, which uses a powerfully loping theme as a red thread to explore various moods. All of this has been carefully remastered from the 1981 recording and now shines as brightly polished as the golden knob on Scrooge Mc Duck’s vault.

If there is a defining persona behind the project, it must be Hermann Baumann, easily one of the most renowned soloists on his instrument of the last few years. His bright and warm tone carries these pieces to Horn-heaven, without once sounding schmaltzy. It would therefore be wrong to claim that this disc is dedicated to Leopold Mozart.. But it does do his talents some justice and puts him into perspective. Give the man a break!

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: ARTS Music

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