Music is the undisputed ally of the universal language called love. Composers of the romantic era have welcomed the noble sound of the horn as a perfect carrier for pouring their turbulent and passion time into sound. Troughout the 18th and 19th century, a long and continuous exchange of ideas between players, composers and instrument manufacturers transformed the crude hunting horn into a refined solo instrument. in the Belgian context, this led to the development of a particular and distinctive "Lyrical" playing style from 1850 onwards.
A clear example of this evolution is the concert repertoire of one of the heralds of the romantic Belgian horn school, Alphonse Stenebruggen (Liège 1824-Strasbourg 1895). the playlist of Chant d'Amour is entirely shaped by pieces played by this Liègeois during his nearly 50 year-long international playing carreer. Stenebruggen's encounters with the great and mighty of his time serve as a great imaginatory source: his contacts with Johannes Brahms, whom he met around the moment the latter was composing his magnificent trio opus 40; and with Saint-Saens during many performances of his fine Romance opus 36. This context inspired me towards a prominent "Lyrical" interpretation of these pieces on French romantic natural horn.
A vaguely conservative fascination for slow and simple elegance rules in most of the extensive Belgian valve horn repertoire of the time, which was projected into instrument manufacture particularly by valve horn manufacturer Ferdinand Van Cauwelaert of Brussels, and translated into music by composers as Radoux, Samuel and Van Cromphout. All performers on this disk have put their talent in function of the rediscovery of the musical intentions of the composer, by playing on period instruments for a matter of colour and rethinking the organic structure in a lyrical context.
Explaining this cross-pollination between players, builders and repertoire has been the main goal of the research project Horn playing in the Lyrical Style (AP-Institute, Royal Antwerp Conservatory 2014-2018), of which this disc is one of the artistic results.
World Premiere Horn Recordings of the Brahms Era
Music by J.T. Radoux, A. Samuel, L. van Cromphaut, F. Thomé, F.J. Fétis, C. Saint-Saens and Johannes Brahms
Performed on period instruments
Release 10 April 2016
Pre-ordered CD's will be sent in the week of April 11
(Web pages on Chant d'Amour are currently under construction)