'A splendid disc and one I can fully recommend, with marvellous playing from all throughout.'
This is a welcome disc for fans of chamber music featuring the horn, the horn player in this case being Stephen Stirling who has, in recent years, recorded many, perhaps less familiar, chamber works, and so it is here. The only piece in this collection which is over-represented on my CD shelves is the Mozart Quintet and fine though the performance is I wouldn't necessarily buy the disc for this alone. If you need a recent recording, however, this is a good one to have.
The rest of the programme, on the other hand, is very useful indeed. The extraordinary arrangement of Till Eulenspiegel by Franz Hasenohrl, reducing that mighty orchestral show piece to a mere quintet, is one I've become familiar with in recent years through giving many performances myself, and Steve and his colleagues certainly make the most of its virtuosic demands. Likewise the curious Serenata Invano by Nielsen, a neglected work here given the most convincing and winning performance.
I have long enjoyed the fine miniatures Quatre Petites Pieces by Charles Koechlin which make such an attractive partner - or should that be hors d'oevres - to the major horn trio works such as the Brahms or Berkeley, and Steve and his colleagues achieve exactly the requisite transparency and lightness of touch this music needs. The Glazunov Idyll is another work that features too rarely both in concert programmes and on disc, while the programme is rounded off by an ebullient performance of the delightful Poulenc trio for brass. A splendid disc and one I can fully recommend, with marvellous playing from all throughout.