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This fascinating collection of works for the natural and piston horn spans a period when developments to instruments and playing techniques were in a state of flux. While centred around Mozart, it also introduces several of the leading horn virtuosi of the 19th century, in particular Giovanni Punto, represented by three duos for horn and cello (originally bassoon), and Giovanni Puzzi, owner of a manuscript that includes an anonymous set of variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Don Giovanni and an arrangement of the Clarinet Trio, K498, an intriguing glimpse of Mozart refracted through the prism of Romanticism. More familiar Mozart in disguised form can be heard in Michael Haydn’s Romance in A flat, tantalisingly based on the Larghetto of the Horn Concerto, K447. But pure Mozart is here, too, in the shape of the wonderful Horn Quintet, K407/386c.

All this music is splendidly played by Anneke Scott and the Australian ensemble Ironwood. Throughout Scott’s playing is distinguished by splendid technique allied to varied tonal colouring. Her legato in particular is unfailingly lovely, the yearning principal subject of K407’s opening Allegro just one of the pleasures of a beautifully balanced, poised performance. For my taste the central Andante might have been given more forward momentum, yet its counterpoint is revealingly laid out by Ironwood’s excellent string players. Informative notes from Anneke Scott round out a very fine CD.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing