Sunday, February 19, 2017

Horn Ensemble Series: the Vienna Horns

Less than three months after the London Horn Sound CD was released, Vienna Horns CD (yellow one) came out and it really blew the former away.

Listen to this.

Isn't it sound familiar? Yes, it is the exact same arrangement from the London Horn Sound CD but, to me, with a more refine playing in every level. Plus, it is on the Vienna horns!! 

For those who have not heard of Vienna horns, here are some information.

Vienna horn by Robert Engel
Photo of Vienna horn from

The Vienna horn is probably the most unchanged chromatic horn since its inception in around the first half of 19th century. The vienna valve system was invented by Leopold Ullmann, an instrument maker in Vienna. The horn is basically a single horn in F which mean, even though the warmer of horn in F sound is still remain, it is actually very difficult to perfect especially in a high register where the partial of overtone series are closed together. The only orchestra that use this instrument now is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

With the longer horn, the darker sound it gets. If you compare the above recording between the London Horn Sound and Vienna Horns, I am sure you can hear the different between the sound. Even though I did prefer Vienna horns recording, it doesn't mean that you have to replicate their playing. It is just different style on a different context. So, be yourself!

The performers of Vienna Horns CD include member of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Volkoper, and horn professors from music institutes in Austria. Similar to the London Horn Sound CD, all the pieces are transcriptions. The recording I like the most on this CD is not the fast and flashy one but the arrangement of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Play it on a nice stereo to enjoy the sound of horn that probably closer to the one in 19th century!

Here is the link to the member of Vienna Horns if you are interested!

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