Sheet music

New from G. Henle Verlag

The first title in the most recent batch we received from this publisher is a piano reduction of Neruda’s Horn (or trumpet) concerto (Henle 561, ISMN 979-0-2018-0561-0, €15) by Dominik Rahmer (editor) and Christoph Sobanski (piano reduction). Famed for his stratospheric playing, Neruda was one of the outstanding Bohemian hornists at the Dresden court. The set includes three parts for a variety of brass players – one notated in C for a natural horn player (presumably playing an F horn to be in tune with the piano?), one for trumpet in E flat (the music in C an octave below the horn part) and for the concert trumpet in B flat (the music in F). All three have the same idiomatic (though virtuosic for the natural instrument!) cadenzas by Reinhold Friedrich. An excellent and very reasonably priced addition to the horn player’s repertoire.

Mozart’s Erste Lodronische Nachtmusik is a sequence of dances, written for the name day celebrations of Countess Antonia of that ilk in 1776. Felix Loy’s Urtext edition sensibly pairs it with a March written for the same celebrations and, based on his belief that it was performed by the musicians (strings with two horns) as they assembled for the divertimento, it comes first in the volume (Henle HN7150, ISMN 979-0-2018-7150-9 study score, €14, Henle 1150, ISMN 979-0-2018-1150-5 parts €32), although that causes the two Köchel numbers to be reversed. As you would expect, the edition is meticulous with succinct critical notes, and the parts are beautifully laid out, with fold-out pages when movements are too long to be accommodated on a two-page spread. First class attention to detail.

The remaining two editions sent are from the on-going Beethoven piano sonata series from Norbert Gertsch and Murray Perahia (who is credited as joint editor and for supplying the fingerings). There is not much I can say that I did not already cover in my previous review – same beautiful engraving with carefully planned page-turns, and the same footnotes providing on-the-page important information or insights. The A major sonata op 2/2 (Henle 772, ISMN 979-0-2018-0772-0, €12) and that in C major, op 2/3 (Henle 1222, ISMN 979-0-2018-1222-9, €10) were dedicated to Haydn – even relatively early in Beethoven’s career, we must wonder what his former teacher made of them when he heard the composer play them in 1796.


Beethoven: Symphony No 3 ‘Eroica’

Nizhny Novgorod Soloists Chamber Orchestra, Maxim Emelyanchev
Aparté AP191
+Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, op. 56a

The most frustrating thing about this beautiful CD is the lack of information about the performers. Typically, readers of these pages would probably not take any notice of it, given that one assumes the orchestra plays on modern instruments, and that they would not expect the Russian school would bring any worthwhile revelations to two such well-known pieces from the repertoire. Yet, from the opening bars, both the sound world and the energy of the performances held my attention and I have ended up listening to the disc several times which, when one has a room full of other things awaiting review, is no small achievement. So often with modern chamber orchestras, the bass parts lack “air”, the wind players find it awkward to fit in with string sections that have turned off their vibrato (because that’s what they think HIP playing means!), and there is just a lack of vitality that overpowers the good intention. The out-of-date website that I found for the group suggests the orchestra is made up of 16 elite students specialising in orchestral playing, the photo suggesting that the figure refers to string players only. This modest number would be about what Beethoven would have expected and allows Emelyanchev to treat the programme more as expanded chamber music, lending their sound a clarity to too often escapes non-HIPsters. I played the “Haydn Variations” with my university orchestra, but I can guarantee it never sounded anything like this! I hope this is not the last we hear of this combination.

Brian Clark