Strauss/Schoeck/PflŸger

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COMPOSERS: Strauss/Schoeck/Pfláger
LABELS: Capriccio
WORKS: Horn Concerto No. 1; Horn Concerto No. 2; Horn Concerto, Op. 65; Horn Concerto
PERFORMER: Andrew Joy (horn)Cologne RSO/Wolf-Dieter Hauschild, Werner Andreas Albert
CATALOGUE NO: 10 443 DDD
Andrew Joy is principal horn of the Cologne RSO, and it’s his colleagues who accompany him on this disc. There’s a fine account of the Concerto by Hans Georg Pflüger (born 1944). First performed in 1983, it is dramatic and declamatory – a compendium of virtuoso effects for the horn and atmospheric devices for the orchestra.

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The Swiss composer Othmar Schoek (1886-1957) was largely self-taught, apart from a brief period of study with Max Reger, and Reger’s heady chromaticism clearly rubbed off. Schoek’s Concerto, with string accompaniment, is an agreeable work making no unreasonable demands on the listener, full of charming melodies just a shade too angular to be easily singable, but lyrical nevertheless. It’s well suited to the instrument, has plenty of character, and the second movement incorporates some intriguing tremolandos on the strings.

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Here, as in Strauss’s No. 2, the orchestra’s punctuating chords are sometimes fractionally behind the soloist, but the acoustic is mellow and the balance good. The opening movements of both Strauss works are rather matter-of-fact, but the final Rondo of the First brings the disc to a lively finish. Wadham Sutton