Stefan Dohr / Camerata Schulz

Mozart: The Complete Horn Concertos

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The "completeness" of Mozart's concertos for horn has been a matter of much scholarly debate, so the title of this album is a little misleading. Three complete, three-movement concertos survive: K. 417 (No. 2), K. 447 (No.3), and K. 495 (No. 4). K. 412/514, usually numbered as the first concerto, but actually written last, includes only two movements, the slow middle movement having been lost, and the last movement Rondo of which was actually completed by the composer's colleague Franz Xaver Süssmayr. There is also a lone Concert Rondo, K. 371, that is usually included with the four concertos, as well as several fragments of movements. This album doesn't include the Concert Rondo or the fragments, but in addition to the three complete concertos, it includes two versions of the two-movement K.412/514: the standard one, plus a new completion of the Rondo by Mozart scholar Robert D. Levin, with an Andante sostenuto written by Nino Rota, intended to be used in place of the lost slow movement. Levin's version doesn't sound in any obvious way like an improvement over Süssmayr's, and to listeners who know the work, it will probably just seem odd. The Rota is lovely and comes very close to being credible imitation Mozart.

German horn player Stefan Dohr plays a modern valve horn, with flawless technique and a warm, fat, mellow tone. It's not a particularly distinctive interpretation -- he plays the works straight, with no ornamentation -- but it's a very fine middle-of-the-road performance that should in no way disappoint listeners who prefer the concertos played on a modern instrument rather than the natural horn for which they were written. Emanuel Schulz leads the chamber ensemble Camerata Schulz (no relation) in elegant accompaniments. The size of the ensemble gives the pieces almost the texture of chamber music in some places, which allows inner details to be clearly heard in ways that aren't possible when full-sized orchestras play this repertoire. Camerata's sound is clean and transparent, with good balance.

blue highlight denotes track pick