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Robert Markow
Fanfare, November 2019

This well-conceived program consists of two multi-movement horn concertos framing two shorter works for solo horn and orchestra. Finnish horn player Markus Maskunitty is the soloist and proves himself to be one of the very highest rank. A beautiful tone, liquid smooth slurs, technique to burn, and innate musicianship combine in a musician of rare ability.

This latest recording by the section of the Stockholm Philharmonic fits squarely into the new generation of players. Right from the opening salvo it’s obvious these guys (and one gal) mean business. Exhilarating, exuberant, at times wildly energetic, and at all times supremely confident, this is a performance to treasure.

Amazing. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review




Robert Markow
Fanfare, November 2019

Finnish horn player Markus Maskuniitty joins his Swedish colleagues of the Stockholm Philharmonic for what may well be the best recording ever made of Schumann’s notoriously difficult Konzertstück for four horns and orchestra. Exhilarating, exuberant, at times wildly energetic and at all times supremely confident, this is a performance to treasure. In this and the other works on the disc for solo horn and orchestra, Maskuniitty plays with a beautiful tone, liquid smooth slurs, technique to burn, and innate musicianship. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, September 2019

The spotlight is on the horn section of the Stockholm Philharmonic—particularly its superb principal, Markus Maskuniitty. In the big piece, Schumann’s Konzertstuck, he proves more than able in the sky-high notes, and the section players are strong.

Superb recording from start to finish. © 2019 American Record Guide




Freya Parr
BBC Music Magazine, July 2019

The playing of Maskuniitty and his three colleagues is simply superb, with exemplary balance between them and the thrilling arpeggio swoops in the last movement. © 2019 BBC Music Magazine



Marc Rochester
MusicWeb International, June 2019

…Oramo’s careful balancing and shaping of the orchestral material emphases the Tchaikovsky influence far more powerfully than we get from Glière’s own performance. Maskuniitty obviously relished the opportunity to write his own cadenza for the first movement, and while it wanders into territory somewhere between Siegfried and Pierre Boulez, he has no qualms in showing off his remarkable pitch range as well as his ability to negotiate large intervallic leaps with all the agility of Russian gymnast. And as a final demonstration of his breath-defying athleticism, his outburst of phenomenal virtuosity (from 6:12) makes a rousing conclusion to a splendid debut disc. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, June 2019

Markus Maskuniitty has chosen four works from across a century of music for the instrument. Maskuniitty has been principal horn for the Berlin Philharmonic and is principal horn for the orchestra that accompanies him here. Sakari Oramo is their principal conductor and this continues to expand his quite diverse recorded repertoire.

In this recording, it really feels like conductor and orchestra are working as hard as the soloist to bring us performances of great detail and shape that match Maskuniitty’s virtuoso performances here. There is also a sense of joy in this whole interaction that often leads to some exhilarating music making. It is even more impressive that this consistency exists for these recordings made between 2016 and 2018. For those who love 19th Century music and are expanding their own listening repertoire, this album should bring a lot of pleasure and bear up under repeated listening. © 2019 Cinemusical Read complete review



Andrew Farach-Colton
Gramophone, June 2019

Maskuniitty revels in the music’s melodic and colouristic opulence, and is supported affectionately by Oramo and the orchestra. This entire programme is an absolute delight. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



The Northern Echo, May 2019

A must for horn devotees. © 2019 The Northern Echo



Jonathan Blumhofer
The Arts Fuse, May 2019

Markus Maskuniitty’s solo debut recording is stunning, Howard Shelley and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra play Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with zest, and this is one of the strongest New Year’s Concerts of the decade from the Vienna Philharmonic. © 2019 The Arts Fuse Read complete review



Lark Reviews, May 2019

Another collection of (almost) unknown delights. The longest work is Gliere’s Horn Concerto and a very late composition for the composer, dating from 1951, though it is entirely romantic in its structure. This sits alongside two works by Schumann—the Konzertstuck fur 4 Horner und Orchester and the Adagio & Allegro Op70 in an arrangement by Ernest Ansermet. Between them is Saint-Saens’ Morceau de concert. All very pleasing and far more engaging than a solo horn recording might at first appear to be. © 2019 Lark Reviews



Tal Agam
The Classic Review, April 2019

Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns and Orchestra is a terrific piece, written with his maturity of style and experience writing for a large orchestra. There is a sense of celebration to the piece and to this performance, with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra joining the effort splendidly under their chief conductor, Sakari Oramo. The four soloists in this work also come from this ensemble.

All-in-all an interestingly programmed album with superb playing of soloists and orchestra, successfully shedding light on the instrument. © 2019 The Classic Review Read complete review



My Classical Notes, April 2019

Horn player Markus Maskuniitty’s debut recording together with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra showcases four concertante works for horn and orchestra covering a period of one hundred years (from 1849 to 1951).

The most substantial of Schumann’s works featuring the horn is the Konzertstück for four horns and orchestra, Op. 86. Schumann considered the work as one of his best achievements as a composer. © 2019 My Classical Notes Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2019

It is said that Robert Schumann regarded the ‘horn is the soul of the orchestra’, a remark appropriate when he added the Konzertstuck to the instrument’s repertoire. I belong to that generation of yesteryear when the horn was considered so difficult to play, you would expect and forgive a few split notes in the course of a concert, a fact that made performances of the three-movement Konzertstuck, which required four horns, something of a rarity. Today we expect flawless performances, the Finnish born, Markus Maskunitty, and three horns from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, offering a superb account, full of impact and brilliance as Schumann intertwines them, their smooth quality is to be admired in the central Romanze. It was the conductor, Ernest Ansermet, who orchestrated the piano accompaniment to the Adagio and Allegro to create a most attractive score, the Allegro being one of the most joyous pieces ever composed. Indeed, it is so festive it rather makes the Saint-Saëns seem at times a little dour until we reach the virtuosity of the mercurial finale. Reinhold Gliere’s concerto dates from 1951 when he was already Seventy-six, and he was still composing in a Romantic idiom more related to Richard Strauss’s two concertos. Rich in melody, it does not deserve its present neglect, Maskunitty adding spicy brilliance in his own first movement cadenza. The Stockholm orchestra is conducted by Sakari Oramo, and a recording of exemplary quality. © 2019 David’s Review Corner





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