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Thread: Favourite french horn moments in symphonic music

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    Default Favourite french horn moments in symphonic music

    Today when I was at my piano workground I encountered horn player and was forced (but eventualy it turned to be pleasure and great experience) to listen to his playing (very clearly despite two closed doors and hallway between us). Then I had conversation with other guy about french horn music and I've realised something:

    French horn, at least in my opinion, has pretty weak repertoire. It's magnificent instrument with noble and rich sound but there are very little pieces for it that are real masterpieces of the same caliber as greatest violin or piano concertos.

    But horns often get their "five minutes" in non-concertante orchestral music. Tchaikovsky's 5th, Mahler 5th, some Richard Strauss, Wagner (Siegfried's signal and many other short pearls).

    Can you think of some other examples?
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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Shostakovich' second violin concerto has some beautiful horn lines in the Adagio.
    Und Morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen.....

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    How about the brilliant intro to Mahler's 7th.
    Dvoraks 8th has some brilliant horn parts, especially in the finale.

    I like the horn for its beautifully nostalgic tone in the higher range. But it is so versatile due to its big range. Seems perfect for 'echoe's

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    I second Tchaikovsky's 5th. But also, the descending seconds in the Romeo and Juliet Overture. They get me everytime.
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    Yay, I'm a hornist who plays a lot with orchestras so I can comment with some knowledge on the subject.

    There are a lot of concerti and chamber works for horn. Not as many as for violin or piano but it is the brass instrument with the most solo music written for it. Here's a short list of great pieces:

    Corelli - two sonatas
    Telemann - concerto
    Mozart - four concerti, horn quintet, concert rondo
    Haydn - two concerti
    Beethoven - horn sonata
    Brahms - horn trio
    Schumann - concertpiece for four horns
    Saint-Saens - Morceau de Concert
    Dukas - Villanelle for Horn and Piano
    Strauss - two concerti
    Hindermith - concerto


    For great horn features in concert music:
    Haydn - Symphony 31
    Beethoven - symphony 3 (third movement)
    Beethoven - symphony 7 (1st and 4th mvt)
    Shostakovich - symphony 5 (all movements)
    Tchaikovsky - symphony 4 (1st mvt) and 5 (2nd mvt)
    Bruckner - symphony 9 (1st mvt)
    Brahms - symphony 1 (2nd and 4th mvt) symphony 4 (1st and 2nd mvt) piano concerto 2 (1st mvt)
    Copland - symphony 3 (mvt 2 and 4)
    Schubert - symphony 9 (1st mvt)
    Mendelssohn - Nocturne from MND
    Wagner - Lohingrin, all four parts of the Ring
    Schumann - Symphony 1 (mvt 2)
    Dvorak - symphony 7 8 and 9 (many places)

    There's lots more. This is just off the top of my head.
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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    Shostakovich' second violin concerto has some beautiful horn lines in the Adagio.
    His first cello concerto is almost a double concerto for horn and cello. There are many prominent horn solos in all of the movements (except obviously the 3rd which is a cadenza).

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    While not excessively hard, the beginning of the first movement of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony is both sweet and glorious.

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    Senior Member Chris's Avatar
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    The part for the french horns in Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

    ...and this of course:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sibbmSroXHc

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    Absolutely love the horn fanfare that opens Tchaik 4.
    -PPP
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    How about the brilliant intro to Mahler's 7th.
    That's not a horn - that's a tenor tuba!

    Watch at 1:26

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    For sheer majesty of a full horn section, it's hard to beat the opening of Mahler's Third Symphony.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    The delicate opening to Holst's Venus. This instrument is clearly not all about hunting. I love the distant sound of the horn in this mode.

    (Rather, I have assumed all my life this is a "French" horn. Correct me if I am wrong.)
    Last edited by Weston; Dec-24-2010 at 13:58.
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    I second Chris' mention of Britten's Serenade. I'm not into Britten's music [at least yet], but that one has me hooked.

    One of my favorite moments of Mahler's 1st symphony is at the end, where the horns all stand up and blare out the opening motif, like here at 6:43.

    Last edited by Manxfeeder; Dec-24-2010 at 16:07.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    For sheer majesty of a full horn section, it's hard to beat the opening of Mahler's Third Symphony.
    Majestic is the word, indeed.

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    Mahler Symphony No.4 first movement - near the start of the development - best horn solo ever!!!

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