Bruns Mozart Concerti

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Horn Concerti K. 417, 447, 495. Horn Quintet K. 407; Wilhelm Bruns, horn; Quadriga Quartet, Mannheim Mozart Orchestra. Thomas Fey, director. Profil Edition Günter Hänssler PH05046 Recorded 2004.

Wilhelm Bruns has added his natural horn interpretations of the Mozart Horn Concerti in Eb (K. 417, 447 and 495) to the distinguished list that includes Hermann Baumann, Lowell Greer, Tony Halstead and Ab Koster. He has passed over the D Major Concerto (K. 412), with its reconstructed and Sussmayr rondos, in favor of the Quintet in Eb for horn and strings (K. 407). Although this leaves the entire disc in Eb major, the opportunity to hear Bruns in a chamber work provides a nice contrast with the orchestral idiom.

Bruns is a flamboyant, but always musical, soloist. His playing offers great virtuosity and variety of color, at times looking back to the untamed horn of the hunt and, in the next moment, skillfully blending with the strings and woodwinds. Whether for a brighter tone color or for security of attack, he has crooked his instrument (a Lausmann copy by Jungwirth) somewhat unusually using an A alto crook with two couplers (rather than a single crook in Eb). Bruns' cadenzas are inventive but always in keeping with the classical style. Like his teacher, Hermann Baumann, he offers well-tuned chords in several cadenzas, and these serve a clear musical purpose.

In all respects, this is an extremely enjoyable disc and a valuable addition to the natural horn offerings of the music of Mozart. Bruns is a worthy artistic descendant of Joseph Leutgeb, for whom Mozart wrote much of this sublime music.

--- Tom Reicher