About this Recording
8.550459 - FIALA / POKORNY / ROSETTI: Concertos for 2 Horns

Czech Horn Concertos

Josef Fiala (1748 - 1816)
Concerto in E Flat Major for Two Horns

František Xaver Pokorny (1729 - 1794)
Concerto in F Major for Two Horns

Francesco Antonio Rosetti (c.1750 - 1792)
Concerto in A Flat Major for Two Horns
Concerto in E Flat Major for Two Horns

Bohemia boasts a long musical history, with achievement at all levels of the art. Of particular distinction were the Bohemian horn-players of the eighteenth century, the first to experiment with the middle and lower register of the instrument, creating notes outside the harmonic series by the insertion of the hand into the bell of the instrument. This technique gave the instrument new possibilities, further increased by other technical developments in Dresden and elsewhere, particularly through the Bohemian player and teacher Carl Haudek and his Prague-born colleague Anton Joseph Hampel, teachers of the Czech Giovanni Punto, born Jan Vaclav Stich and so much admired by Mozart.

Mozart was favourably impressed too by the achievement of Joseph Fiala, oboist, cellist, player of the viola da gamba and composer. Born in Western Bohemia at Lochovice in 1748, he was employed first by Countess Netolická and then as oboist by Prince Kraft Ernst Oettingen-Wallerstein before, in 1777, entering the service of the Elector Maximilian Joseph in Munich. Mozart heard the wind band trained by Fiala during the course of a visit to Munich in 1777 and thought well enough of him as a composer and as a musician to help him to secure a position in Salzburg after the death of the Elector in 1778. He remained in Salzburg unti11785, when he moved to Vienna and may have found work for the moment as trainer of a wind band for Prince Esterházy. In 1786 he entered the service of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg. Four years later he was again in Germany, performing on the viola da gamba for the cello-playing monarch King Friedrich Wilheim II of Prussia, and in 1792 he took his final employment as Kapellmeister to Prince Fürstenberg at Donaueschingen, where much of his music has been preserved. The three-movement E flat Concerto for Two Horns is very much in the idiom of his time, of which it is an elegant and attractive example.

The name Pokorny is not uncommon in Bohemia and not uncommon among musicians, perhaps through its connotations with modest humility. František Xaver Pokorny was born at Mies in 1729. He studied first at Regensburg, before becoming a pupil of Johann Stamitz, Franz Xaver Richter and Ignaz Holzbauer, his Bohernian fellow-countrymen, in Mannheim, through the patronage of Count Philipp Karl Oettingen-Wallerstein. From 1766 he was in the service of the Princes von Thurn und Taxis in Regensburg. It is thought that the horn virtuoso Beate Pokorny may have been his sister. His compositions include some 100 symphonies, not all of which can be authenticated, and three concertos for two horns, of which the present F major Concerto is an attractive example.

Ambiguity of nomenclature is found in the case of the Bohemian František Antonin Rösler or Rosety, better known by the assumed Italian form of his name, Francesco Antonio Rosetti. He was born at Leitmeritz (the modern Litom~1ice) about 1750, as may be assumed from the record of his death in 1792 at Ludwigslust, when he is described as 42 years old. Rosetti was educated by the Jesuits and trained in theology, later turning rather to music, before taking his final vows. He found early employment as a double bass player in the service of Prince Kraft Ernst of Oettingen-Wallerstein, succeeding Josef Reicha as Kapellmeister in 1785. At Wallerstein he gained experience particularly in the handling of wind instruments with a wind band that was regarded as the best of its period. His fame grew with a concert tour to Paris and in 1789 he became Kapellmeister to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Ludwigslust. In 1791 he w rote a Requiem for Prague to mark the death of Mozart and visited the court at Potsdam before his death in 1792.

Rosetti took Haydn, Mozart and Johann Stamitz as his models, and himself made a considerable contribution to writing for the French horn, an instrument he well understood. His music retains elements of the Baroque in a generally classical idiom. Among his many concertos for wind instruments are fifteen for solo French horn and six for two horns. The slow movement of his A flat Concerto is particularly effective in its lyrical qualities, capped by an elegant final French rondeau. The orchestral music of Rosetti was well known to Schubert, who grew familiar with it as a pupil in the orchestra at the Staatskonvikt in Vienna in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Bedrich and Zdenek Tylsar
The brothers Bedrich and Zdenek Tylsar are the leading exponents of a long Czech tradition of French horn-playing. Both graduated at the Janacek Academy of Musical Arts and after winning several prizes in prestigious competitions in Europe became members of the acclaimed Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

Their repertoire comprises a wide range of works from Haydn and Mozart to contemporary music. They also have a special interest in Czech music by composers such as Rosetti and Reicha.

František Vajnar
František Vajnar was born in 1930 and studied violin and conducting at the Prague Conservatory. Having conducted at the opera theatres of Ostrava and Usti he was appointed in 1974 conductor of the National Theatre in Prague. In 1979 he was appointed principal conductor of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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