Wait – don’t you need just one ?

The horn had an incredibly rich evolution over three centuries, from the hunting field to the concert hall. With differences in size, mechanic, technique, sound aesthetic and manufacture through time and geography, the horn has many faces and playing a piece on the corresponding instrument has a great impact on interpretation and style. The purpose is to get closer to what composers had in mind while composing, and rediscover forgotten sounds. Like an actor switching masks and identities when switching roles, it is such a joy to go from one horn – one soul – to another and experience the difference through music.

The photos below cannot be used or reproduced without my permission

Baroque horn by Zoltan Juhasz, 2021

Viennese natural horn by A. Kerner, 1760 – Replica by Seraphinoff, 2020

Anonymous natural horn from central Europe, c.1800 ?

Anonymous natural horn, beginning of the XIXth century ?

French natural horn by Courtois Neveu Aîné, c.1800

French natural horn by Halari, c.1820

French natural horn (cor basse) by Kretschman, c.1830

French horn with 3 Stoelzel pistons attributed to Chollet, c.1840 ?

French natural horn (cor basse) by Piatet & Benoît, c.1840

French natural horn by Gautrot, c. 1860

French horn with two pistons by Besson, c.1860

French natural horn by Raoux – Labbaye c.1870 with sauterelle by Brown&Sons, c.1915

Bohemian crookable valved horn by Bohland&Fuchs, c.1880

Anonymous French natural horn, c.1880

Swiss crookable horn with 3 valves by Simoutre, c.1880

Swiss manufacturer Nicolas Eugène Simoutre flourished in Basel, Switzerland, before moving to Paris in 1889. This particular instrument is quite a curiosity… the valves were influenced by a German design in which the lever is on the transmission itself, perpendicular to the rotor. This “top action” system places your fingers very close to the valve itself, and the movement of the fingers is slightly different. Furthermore, the first valve can be converted from descendant to ascendant – yes, the FIRST valve ! Which would allow one to play a half-step higher. Thanks to the long slides, this horn can be easily played from Bb down to much lower crooks such as D. In spite of its German inspiration, I found it to sound best when holding the bell the French way – thumb out, very open and clear.

Vienna horn with double pistons by A. Dehmal, c.1890

Vienna horn with rotary valves by A. Dehmal, c.1890

German tri-valve horn in B-flat by Barth, c.1896

French compensated double horn F/Bb by Selmer, model Vuillermoz, c.1935

German horn in F with rotary valves by Kley, c.1910

German single B-flat horn mod.97 with stopping valve and F extension by Alexander, c.1912

American double horn F/Bb by Holton (mod. Tuckwell H104), c.1990

…and a work in progress…