Performers: Richard Serphinoff, natural horn; Judson Griffin, violin; Cynthia Roberts, violin; Andrea Andros, viola; Allen Whear, cello; Jesse Watras, bass
The French School of horn playing in nineteenth-century Paris attained a reputation unsurpassed in the history of the instrument. Probably the most important factor contributing to this reputation was the establishment of the École Royale de Chant et de Déclamation in 1774, and 10 years later, the Conservatoire National. The art of horn playing was also being advanced by Bohemian hornists such as Antoine-Joseph Hampel (ca. 1710–1771), who was instrumental in developing the technique of hand stopping, and whose influential ideas were carried throughout Europe by his students. At the same time the natural horn was gradually being replaced by the orchestral horn, which was smaller in diameter and had terminal crooks for playing in different keys and, later, a tuning slide. The instrument was no longer held hunting style, but with the bell to the player's side making it accessible for hand stopping. The music on this CD represents the height of composition for French horn in the early nineteenth century.