In the summer of 2005 I had the privilege of working with the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam | Jan Willem de Vriend again in an occasional project with the wonderful Paul van Zelm, a lauded Dutch horn player who wanted to record the Mozart concertos on a period natural horn. Now almost 20 years later it was time to revive and dust off this lovely recording in a fresh new fashion. This recording was one of the last I made in native DSD, a format that I soon replaced with DXD that year for valid reasons (see article). With the now available tools for re-mastering this recording shines even more than 2 decades ago.
Bert van der Wolf - Oude Avenhuis 2023
About the Album
The friendship between the horn virtuoso Joseph Leutgeb and Mozart produced a bumper crop of compositions: four, maybe even five, concertos for horn and orchestra as well as the Horn Quintet KV 407. Leutgeb was the undisputed master of the ferociously demanding natural horn but also deserves to be remembered for inspiring Mozart to write such sparkling and lively works. The opening movements exploit the horn’s innate lyricism splendidly; the triadically conceived melodies and leaps of a fourth and fifth are spiced with a hint of chromaticism. The middle movements are oases of tranquillity: serene, text-less arias. The Romanza from KV 495 in particular, is one of Mozart’s most touching slow movements and the beautifully floating theme affords the soloist the opportunity to produce tones so caressing, so supple and expressive, it’s as if he was singing. Each of the four concerti ends with typical Mozartian humour. Paul van Zelm is in demand as a soloist throughout Europe, the USA, South America and Japan and is the Professor on the Musikhochschule in Cologne. The instrument played by Paul van Zelm was made by Andreas Jungwirth in Vienna and is modelled on a Lausmann of c. 1790 – quite a common instrument during that period. Combattimento Consort Amsterdam (founded by Jan Willem de Vriend in 1982) is a close-knit group of musicians that dares to realise the struggle between a line and its counterpoint. It is a baroque ensemble which employs contradictions and contrasts to create beauty and an intense listening pleasure, creating a musical bridge between the players and the public with its fresh interpretations.
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E flat major No. 2 KV 417 1] Allegro Maestoso 05:30 2] Andante 02:44 3] Rondo 03:58
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E flat major No. 3 KV 447 4] Allegro 07:17 5] Romance - Larghetto 03:26 6] Allegro 03:40
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in D major No. 1 KV 412/514 (KV 386b) 7] Allegro 04:51 8] Rondo - Allegro 03:55
Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E flat major No. 4 KV 495 9] Allegro Moderato 08:35 10] Romanza - Andante 03:23 11] Rondo - Allegro Vivace 03:54