Horns on the Recital I: Natural Horn

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On my recital this year I wanted to play on a variety of horns and work through the story of the horn in Classical music. Pretty hard to do that without playing some natural horn!

I had three natural horns available to me to try to use this year. As I noted in my most recent mouthpiece article, there is nothing like a concert coming up to put rubber to the road and help you make some decisions. The three horns were a custom, large natural horn which is convertible to an early valved horn (seen in this article), a McCracken owned by ASU, and this horn. I made it as a project during my Doctoral studies with the help of natural horn maker Richard Seraphinoff.

I have more on the natural horn in general here. In terms of this concert the bottom line is this instrument has the best high G of the three choices I had and if you are planning to play the Beethoven Sonata that is a note you really need to feel pretty comfortable about.

This photo is one taken some years ago when it was first constructed. The horn is based on an early 20th century French mellophone bell (!) but with crooks made to match a crook and coupler system as seen in this article. Instead of that crook/coupler system however I will be using the E crook that I made for the early valved horn which will be featured in the next part of this series on this recital. E crook? It puts that horn in E but this horn in F due to the different size of the corpus of each instrument.

As mentioned on this horn I will play the Beethoven Sonata and also the Saint-Seans Romance. The rest of the recital is on valved horns; more on those in the next part of this series.

For those in the area, I should note I am giving this recital twice. The second performance is at Arizona State in Katzin Concert Hall on Sunday, October 3, and a version of this recital will also be presented on a series at the Musical Instrument Museum on September 29.

Continue to Horns on the Recital II

Also note UPDATE: I decided to use the Seraphinoff horn.

University of Horn Matters