1786: Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major, K. 495

SUNDAY, September 6, 2020 – 4:50 AM

Mozart: Concerto No. 4 in Eb major, K. 495

Here it is played played on natural or valveless horn, which is about 100 times harder than the modern, valved horn. It’s like the difference between a high wire act with a net and no net. On valveless horn you have to shove your hand in and out of bell to tune notes. It is fiendishly difficult, and that’s why a few notes sound out of tune. This guy is insanely good. I would say what he did is not possible, but I just heard it.

He’s Teunis van der Zwart

He’s a The Dutch horn player and conductor, who was a prize-winner at the Bad Harzburg Natural Horn Competition 1989. He then decided to become a worldwide ambassador for the natural horn. He is a renowned specialist for his instrument, both as a soloist, chamber music player, and teacher. Since 2008 he is increasingly active as conductor of orchestras and choirs.

Maybe even if you are not a brass player you will enjoy this performance. If you are a brass player, you just listen to this guy and hate him, because no one – I repeat NO ONE – is supposed to be able to do what he does. The only thing that betrays to me that he’s using natural horn are the stopped notes. When you hear notes not in the scale that sound closed off or pinched – or very nasal – those are tuned by sticking your hand into the bell. It’s all so incredibly hard that it just boggles my mind.

And now live…

And in case you want to see someone do this playing, which I still think is impossible, but here I have to believe my eyes and ears, here is the last movement where you can see the man playing live.

Ripieno horns, say WHAT?

I’ve never in my life heard this term, but it turns out it just means horns included in the orchestra besides the soloist. Regardless, that’s what happens in this concerto, and Mozart did it in one other horn concerto.

And now an encore…

Flanders and Swann

From the impossible to the ridiculous, but it’s actually hard to sing this. These guys never stop cracking me up!


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