Works for Horn & Orchestra
The Gliere is the most ambitious work here, running for nearly 23 minutes, almost a record length for a horn concerto. It is very florid and romantic—its unlikely model is Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, to which it comes nearest in the finale which is a lively Russian dance. Although some of the material is ingenuous, notably the march rhythm of the first movement, it is quite a jolly piece and has much in common with the Richard Strauss concertos. Otherwise the best known work is the Dukas Villanelle which Dennis Brain liked to play, and which is attractively diverse in mood and style, although essentially a miniature. The Saint Saens Morceau, elegant and characteristically well crafted, is in two sections, with a short virtuoso finale. But the real find here is the Chabrier Larghetto, an extended melisma (8'29''), distinctly memorable, which Baumann plays very sympathetically.
Throughout he is equal to all the fireworks and he produces a horn 'chord' in his cadenza for the first movement of the Gliere. he also favours judicious use of vibrato which is fair enough in Russian and French music, but coupled with the spreading of timbre brought by the spaciously reverberant Leipzig acoustic, his big, broad sound may not appeal to all listeners. The accompaniments have plenty of energy and are finely played. In such a resonant ambience as the Neues Gewandhaus, Leipzig even digital recording cannot produce a sharply focused sound image and the difference between LP and CD is marginal. But, apart from the resounding horn, the balance is rich, full and agreeable.'