Brief Review: Richard Deane, Mid-Century Sonatas for Horn and Piano


Last year Richard Deane, who serves currently as associate principal horn of the New York Philharmonic, released a new CD. I was interested to hear it for not only the repertoire recorded but also because I knew Richard when we were both undergrads, during summer studies at the Aspen Music Festival.

The recording, with pianist Timothy Whitehead, is of sonatas by Bernhard Heiden, Paul Hindemith, and Halsey Stevens. It is great to have recent recordings of the Heiden and Stevens in particular as students do not perform them as often as the Hindemith works today.

The recording quality is excellent as are the performances. The horn playing is on the aggressive side in terms of dynamics and articulations, of the type you might expect from a player who performs typically in large venues with a large ensemble. The loud moments are certainly exciting; there is a lot of contrast between soft and loud, and it will be well worth your time to listen to this recording on equipment with a higher audio quality than say computer speakers and YouTube.

One thing that could be considered a negative by some is they do not read the poem in the Hindemith Althorn sonata. It is a tradition for the pianist and hornist to read it in performance, but I have been told that Hindemith did not actually require that it be read. It is however artistically included in the jacket of the CD (in German) for those that wish to reference it.

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The CD may be purchased on Amazon here. And for more information on this CD, the horn used, etc., check out the great video introduction to this recording below.

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