Wagner for 8 Horns
Timothy P. Koerner | Great Lakes, USA | 10/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's one that should especially appeal to two types or categories of people: (1) anyone who ever placed his or her right hand in the bell of a French horn; or (2) lovers of horn music in general. Since I fall into both categories, I was eager to listen to this recording which I discovered while browsing. (I later learned that the librarian who acquired the CD for her public library was a horn player.)
The CD contains "fantasies" (12 to 16 minute syntheses of major themes) from four of Richard Wagner's great operas as arranged or re-orchestrated for eight horns. The operas are Lohengrin, Siegfried, Rheingold, and Tristan und Isolde. Three of these fantasies were the work of Karl Stiegler (1876-1932), while the "Rheingold" was done by Manfred Klier, one of the horn players in this recording.
Those with any familiarity with these operas will quickly recognize the music (even a non opera buff such as myself). But the big attraction here has to be the unique and extremely creative arrangements for horn choir by Stiegler and Klier . . . AND the musicians who perform them.
The eight horn players (the talented and brave) deserve to be named. They are:
horn 1: Gerd Seifert
horn 2: Klaus Markowski
horn 3: Jan Schroeder
horn 4: Manfred Klier
horn 5: Siegfried Machota
horn 6: Barry Garbage
horn 7: Klaus Schneider
horn 8: Gunter Fritzsche
All appear to be members of the Bayreuth Festpielhaus, but the CD label (Arts) tells us very little about either them or the recording. That they are truly masters of their difficult instrument is obvious. As one who attempted to play the horn in high school band and orchestra, I listened over headphones and found it hard to believe what I was hearing. I was bowled over.
As for the music, I think I liked the Lohengrin fantasy the most, but all four of the selections are very nice. If you love Wagner and/or the horn, treat your ears to this unusual musical delight.
total time: 64:34
Tim Koerner October 2008"
Horn Blower | 10/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a horn player, you need to own this CD. It is amazing. The 8 members of the circa 1985 Bayreuth horn section do a great job on these Wagner arrangements. It just doesn't get any better than this. Wagner...horns...no woodwinds...no strings! You will be in Valhalla!"