Felix Klieser / Camerata Academica Salzburg

Mozart: Horn Concertos 1-4

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Cut to the chase -- without the special circumstances, this would be a pleasant but not-far-out-of-the-ordinary set of Mozart's four concertos for the horn. The playing is clean, and the Salzburg Camerata provides the older style of slightly glassy Mozart orchestral sound. But what a special set of circumstances it is -- the hornist, Germany's Felix Klieser, was born with no arms. He uses a specially made stand (that can be disassembled) that allows him to operate the valves of the horn with his left foot. He controls the tone with his lips and breath, and he has a second device, controlled by his right foot, for stopped passages. See him if he comes to your town! This is Klieser's third album, and the good news is that his playing seems to have gotten a bit more taut rhythmically as he has gone along; he has said that he took his time before undertaking the Mozart concertos, which are fairly difficult works despite their sunny and straightforward melodic content, and it shows. Sample one of the finales (perhaps that of the Horn Concerto in E flat major, K. 447) and marvel at the consistency of tone and accent. Really, even if Klieser had delivered basic performances, you'd have to marvel, but he actually delivers more.

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