Welcome again to a slightly different set up.

For the next nine weeks the main content of this blog will be, not (as previously) mostly in written text, but in the spoken word and contained in the sound file below.

In addition, at the bottom of the post, there will be a ‘concert’ of works featuring an individual instrument.

Listen (the usual warning to adjust the volume at your end applies)


The shofar




‘French Horn fifths’



A (Josef or possibly Michael) Haydn concerto performed, as it was in the composer’ time, on the natural instrument:


Schumann may not have been the world’s greatest orchestrator, but he certainly took to the – then newly arrived – valve horn. This is Schumann in his manic, Florestan, mood: exciting stuff (I love it all, but particularly the opening gesture!) and fiendishly difficult for the soloists, particularly the first horn.


Some chamber music: the first movement of the Mozart quintet. Notice the way the composer matches the darker horn sounds by substituting the tenor voice of a second viola for the second violin of the traditional string quartet.


Strauss’s father was a horn player, so it’s not surprising that he wrote really well for the instrument. But, that notwithstanding, this second concerto still poses some pretty severe challenges for its soloist.

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