Classical Horn Concertos

January 8, 2015

Musical Notes

Haydn and Mozart both wrote concertos for the French horn. Haydn wrote his for players in his orchestra –  Thaddaus Steinmüller (first horn) making more use of upper register, and Carl Franz (second horn), making less use of higher registers, though he was also excellent at the higher pitch. Mozart wrote his horn concertos for his friend Joseph Leutgeb, the manuscripts being covered in jokes and, in one case, using different colours of ink.

Horn (instrument) Horn (instrument) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Haydn and Mozart were not writing these concertos in a vacuum. Many more horn concertos were written in those days than later – not what you might expect, since they were composed for the natural horn rather than the valve horn we have now. It took a great deal of technique to play these works using a natural horn, mainly involving use of the hand in the bell of the…

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