David Pyatt Recital

Author: 
Ivan March

David Pyatt Recital

  • Sonata for Horn and Piano
  • Nocturno
  • Sonata for Horn and Piano
  • Pavane variée
  • Berceuse
  • Sonata for Horn and Piano
  • Alla caccia
  • Adagio and Allegro

Beethoven’s Horn Sonata – in its day successfully premiered by the famous Bohemian virtuoso and composer, Punto – is nevertheless written rather clumsily for the horn (the composer suggested the cello as a viable alternative) and even Dennis Brain had problems with it. David Pyatt – Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year in 1996 – sails off into the work with aplomb and gives the finest performance I have ever heard, on or off record. He makes it seem to sit easily on the instrument and provides just the right kind of timbre and buoyant lyrical flow – indeed it sounds like a masterpiece, which it very nearly is. He is helped both by a first-rate partnership with Martin Jones and an excellently balanced recording, which does not let the horn overwhelm the piano.
The second piece here is an attractive novelty by Franz Strauss, the father of Richard, and another famous player who advised Wagner on the format of Siegfried’s horn call. Koechlin’s Sonata, more fluent than Beethoven’s, has a rather fine Andante tres tranquille, and another Frenchman, Jean-Michel Damase, provides two short but memorable occasional pieces. The Hindemith Sonata is wayward: it never seems quite sure where it is progressing harmonically, but Pyatt and Jones are so naturally and spontaneously attuned to the work that it becomes readily assimilable.
Allan Abbott’s Alla caccia is an endearing lollipop while Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro (another piece which has alternative instrumentation and requires considerable technical effort from the horn player) here emerges flowing almost as easily as if it had been written by Mozart – who knew just what a horn could manage without sounding effortful. Altogether this is a splendid recital, which will give much pleasure to any lover of this intractable but highly rewarding instrument. '

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