Dvorak 9th Symphony

Horn in E

In autumn 2005 The Burgess Hill Symphony Orchestra performed Dvorak's 9th Symphony.

We are a community amateur orchestra, and I am an amateur horn player.

My playing standard is such that I have a reasonable chance of playing this phrase correctly, but many better players than me have had bad luck with this one in concert.

Earlier that year I had managed to buy an Uhlmann rotor valved Vienna Horn that required considerable restoration to get it back into good working order. I am told the instrument was probably built before 1874, and it had clearly not been used seriously for some years; judging by the dreadful condition it was in when I purchased it. So I decided this beautiful old horn needed a night out to remember.

For 4 months I locked away my Alexander 103, and my Haagston Vienna horn, and just played the Uhlmann. Rehearsal after rehearsal I split the high B in the solo shown above. The day of the concert came, and I split the high B in the final rehearsal. I was doomed to join the many horn players who had split this note in concert. My other horns would present less risk, but I had promised the old horn a night out to remember.

Well, the concert ran nicely enough, we enjoyed ourselves through the whole program, and the last movement moved inevitably to this passage. I began to wonder if the horn had ever played Dvorak's 9th, and if its previous owners had managed to get this right.

Enjoy the mp3 attachment; and forgive me sharing this moment with the world.

Terry Leese

PS The following night, in the Carlisle area, Pam Harris (another SVH player) played first horn on an Engel Vienna horn, in another amateur orchestral performance of Dvorak 9, although not recorded, I am told the high B's were perfect.