Handel to Beethoven: The Horn in the Baroque and Classical Periods

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April 04, 2014

Handel to Beethoven: The Horn in the Baroque and Classical Periods



April 04, 2014


  1. Handel to Beethoven: The Horn in the Baroque and Classical

    Periods James Topp Principal Horn, English Symphony Orchestra
  2. Pre-history

  3. Lur Bronze, Northern Germany/ Scandinavia approx. 800-700 B.C.

  4. Woolly Mammoth (NB Do not try to play one of

  5. Carnyx Bronze, Celtic (300B.C.-200A.D.)

  6. Cornu (blown by a cornicen) Roman military horn ! Technique

    of drawing metal into tubes disappeared for many years after Roman era
  7. Shofar (Ram’s Horn)

  8. Alphorns

  9. The Harmonic Series

  10. Signalling • Strong melodic elements within confines of harmonic series

    e.g. triad, repeated notes • Horns often in pairs utilising “horn fifths” - a way of outlining a chord sequence
  11. Hunting Horns

  12. Chasse à courre (Mounted Hunt)

  13. Court of Louis XIV, Versailles (1643-1715) - the “Sun King”

    • Great patron of the arts - supported writers inc. Molière, composers inc. Lully and Couperin • Lully one of first composers to use the horn in Les Plaisirs (1649) - also Francesco Cavalli Le nozze (1639) • King Charles II - brought “French horns” to England during his reign (1660-1685) • Count Franz Anton von Spörck (1662-1738) - brought horn playing to Bohemia
  14. Bohemian School of Horn playing • Wenzel Sweda and Peter

    Rölig (court musicians of Spörck) • Teaching tradition soon established • Horn players appear in Central European orchestras • Composers (inc. Handel, J.S. Bach) hear and are inspired by horn players, write for forces of specific orchestras
  15. J.S. Bach (1685-1750) • Cantatas inc. Hunting Cantata BWV 208

    (1713), Peasant Cantata BWV 212 (1742) • Brandenburg Concerto No.1 (1719) • B Minor Mass, Quoniam tu solus sanctus (1733)
  16. G.F. Handel (1685-1759) • Water Music (1717) and Music for

    the Royal Fireworks (1749) • Giulio Cesare (1724) - ‘Va tacito’ aria: first prominent use of a solo horn (obbligato) • Several other operas and orchestral works
  17. Handel, Giulio Cesare HWV 17 Aria, Va tacito e nascosto,

    Act I Sc. 9 (Excerpt)
  18. Baroque Horn • Pitched in different keys by use of

    “crooks” • Closer to trumpet sound (same players, similar mouthpiece, smaller bell) • Upper register normally used (where melodic passages can be played) - required a lot of mouthpiece pressure affecting stamina/flexibility • Low register mostly ignored • Writing style heavily influenced by hunting horns
  19. Water Music • Intended to be played outdoors • Horns

    and trumpets given same music, used antiphonally
  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO4gjHu1XGA

  21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c0MTjlnLHU

  22. Hand stopping

  23. Hand stopping • Anton Joseph Hampl (1710-1771) - the most

    noted exponent of hand stopping technique • Other noted players: Joseph Leutgeb (dedicatee of Mozart concerti), Giovanni Punto (most celebrated player of time and inspired Beethoven) • Development of chromatic notes via handstopping allowed melodies in the lower register - led to greater flexibility and stamina • Allowed the instrument to continue to play during key changes - without changing crook
  24. Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 4, K495 3rd movement, Rondo. Allegro

    vivace (Excerpt)
  25. Orchestral horn playing • Hand stopping initially confined to a

    small number of virtuoso players (soloists) • As technique develops and is handed down, becomes more prevalent in orchestral playing • Mozart in the Prague Symphony and Don Giovanni (1787) - Bohemian orchestra • Beethoven in the Symphonies esp. 3rd, 6th, 9th (famous 4th horn solo) - also Fidelio • Valves in development by the time of Beethoven’s death (1827)
  26. Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op.67 Ist

    movement, Allegro con brio
  27. Spotify Playlist http://open.spotify.com/user/james2804/playlist/4S2mtUNwI4Pz9smx4DgSm4

  28. Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 4, K495 3rd movement, Rondo. Allegro