Much of the symphonic repertoire of the 19th C has great horn parts.
Some of my favourites are:
Beethoven Symph 3, trio of scherzo movement.
9, the solo for H 4 in the slow movement is much
admired, but I think the magic moments are the bare fifths at the
opening, and some of the overlapping octave stuff in the scherzo.
Schumann Rhenish Symphony (nominal no 3), most movements.
Brahms Symph 1, introduction to movement 4
2, end of movement 1
4, opening and end of movement 2 (for H 3 & 4).
Dvorak 'Cello Concerto, Movement 1, second subject introduced by H 1.
Slow movement, all three horns in gorgeous soli passage.
Mahler Symph 4
5 (the scherzo has a featured solo horn part)
Chaikovsky Symph 5, slow movement has a great horn solo.
Wagner Siegfried's Rhine journey (part of the Ring often extracted for
Moving into the 20th C,
Strauss Four Last Songs: only two big solos (one a quotation from "Death
and Transfiguration" of c. 50 years earlier) but lots of lush
orchestration featuring horns.
Shostakovich Symphony 10: Movement 1, good use of horns in striking
orchestration; Movement 3, a big solo (said to be based on the letters
of the name of a girl he fancied), later played by the section in
unison; Movement 4, striking (high and fast) passage for all four horns
leading up to DSCH (written high A, Bb, G, F#).
Some versions of the 9th scherzo use orchestrations different than Beethoven's
urtext. I think many of the horn parts in the second movement in particular
are the product of different editors over the years (including Wagner and
Weingartner). Actually, I find listening to the added horn parts exciting (I
think George Szell's recording is a good case in point). EMR
Lots of movie music has great horn parts. One of my favorites is the
soundtrack to Star Trek II (score by James Horner; I've always wondered
if he is related to my great-grand-horn-teacher Anton Horner); just
about any John Williams movie score is worth a listen, too.
And any recording by Hermann Baumann: horn concerti by Mozart,
R.Strauss, Gliere, et al.
Oh, and a real must have is Schumann's Konzertstuck for 4 Horns and
> Years ago - 40s and 50s - two of my brothers played french horn. I
> enjoyed hearing them practice solos from various pieces and listening to
> their records - some were on 78s. I am buying a CD player and would
> like to get your recommendations on any recordings that include great
> parts for the horn. I was listening on my car radio today and heard
> "Don Juan" - it brought back memories for me - surprisingly very
> emotional. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
> Best regards,
Here's a list of some of my favourites...
Ein Heldenleben - by Richad Strauss
Till Eulenspielen - by Richard Strauss
9th Simphony - by L.V. Beethoven
1st Simphpny - by Mahler
This one is the best one... guaranteed
Konzertstuck op. 86 fur Vier Horner und Orchester - by R. Schumann
(Concert piece for four horns and orchestra)
If you buy them (really try the last one, you'll have great emotions) tell
me how they were.
If you have the time Brahm's Second Piano concerto has some really nice horn
solos. I think you have to like the composer before you can like the horn
parts... some of the works listed have great horn parts but I don't like the
Also on my list:
Brahm's trio for Piano, violin and horn
Bruckner Sym. #4 (and almost anything else by Bruckner)
Leonard/Laredo........ where the top is always down
Brahms wrote great horn parts in most of his other orchestral works too
(I think of the First Piano Concerto and the "Haydn" Variations