Nury Guarnaschelli / Signum Quartett

Mozart, Hoffmeister, Hauff, Beethoven: Horn Quintets

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Argentine horn player Nury Guarnaschelli made her career primarily in Germany and she has played with many leading European orchestras. Her first solo album featured contemporary concertos for horn and chamber orchestra, and on this release she plays quintets for horn and strings from the Classical era, plus the Beethoven sextet for two horns and strings. Guarnaschelli plays a modern valve horn, so listeners who require their music from this era played on natural horns should be forewarned. She plays with unimpeachable technique; a lovely, round, Germanic tone; and a seamless, velvety legato. She and the Signum Quartet approach the material with respect for the conventions of the period in terms of ornamentation and use of vibrato. Their playing may not be sufficiently restrained and their use of rubato may be a little too free for period performance purists, but general audiences should find their playing attractive. The Mozart quintet is an especially appealing piece, musically on par with the horn concertos, and the use of two violas instead of two violins give it a wonderfully mellow quality. The Romance in A flat was actually originally the second movement to Mozart's Third Horn Concerto, which Johann Michael Haydn arranged for horn and string quartet and blatantly claimed as his own. The Beethoven Sextet is also a thoroughly engaging, lyrical piece that makes extreme demands on the horn players. (Peter Erdei takes the second horn part.) The Quintet in E flat by Mozart's contemporary Wilhelm Gottlieb Hauff has a Mozartian charm, if not Mozart's brilliance, while Franz Anton Hoffmeister's Quintet in E flat is a more mundane piece. The sound is clean, warm, and beautifully balanced.

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