A look at the Danzi Sonata, Op. 28


On my Summit CD Canto, which recently was posted (legally) on YouTube in full, I included several works that I felt have not received quite the attention they deserve. The oldest of those works is the Danzi Sonata, Op. 28. From my CD notes, “Franz Danzi (1763-1826) has earned a place among hornists as one of the few composers to create more than one sonata for the horn and piano.” Danzi was a cellist and composer, early in his career a member of the celebrated Mannheim Orchestra, and later holding positions as cellist and Kapellmeister in Munich, Stuttgart, and Karlsruhe. He composed quite a number of chamber works, including this sonata, dating to around 1804.

In talking about his sonatas with horn repertoire classes I always like to pull out the Birdalone edition of the Op. 44 sonata, a facsimile of the original edition, as it was clearly published as being for piano with accompaniment of horn or cello. To the Op. 28 sonata specifically, it is for a low horn player of that time. I think when the typical modern horn player just looks at the music it does not really convey to them that this work, for an audience, is an effective one. We just don’t hold the melody as much as we are used to, it is very much driven by the pianist. In my own case, I was so pleased to be able to record this with Eckart Sellheim, he inserts quite a number of inventive and interesting ornaments.

Movement I begins with a slow introduction, followed by a tuneful allegro.

Movement II is a favorite of mine, a wonderful larghetto.

And we end of course with movement III. Marked allegretto, how long do you wait to actually play the melody on horn? But will an actual audience of music lovers really care?

And finally, if you like this recording, do check out the physical CD or download it from iTunes for better audio quality.

University of Horn Matters