Some incredibly exciting news! I've just been lent the most perfect instrument for the recording. My plea to the Cité du Musique Paris hasn't gone entirely unheard. It sounds like I might be able to "view" the Gallay instrument (and, fingers crossed, maybe even play it) but, unsurprisingly, borrowing it for the recording doesn't seem possible.
However another (for the time being nameless) institution has come to the rescue and have lent me a fabulous Raoux cor solo from roughly the same date. I had a bit of a play on it a couple of days - reluctantly kept it short because preparing for the Gardiner/ORR Schumann/Brahms tour that starts tomorrow is really my priority. I'm amazed at how different it feels and sounds to the Raoux orchestral instrument I own. For a moment (logistics, as so often, rearing their ugly head) I considered the possibility of playing the cor solo for the Brahms part of the ORR programme. I had been planning on using another instrument with a beautiful, velvety sound and momentarily thought (authenticity aside for one moment) that it'd make things simpler if I used the cor solo instead. Especially as I only need E and D crooks for this particular work - cor solo crooks. However almost instantly on playing the instrument it was obvious that the light, flexible timbre of the instrument wouldn't really be appropriate for Brahms. Ah well more things to carry (or correctly more reasons to be extremely grateful for the wonderful roadie we have with ORR - keeping us and our osteopaths more happy!).
More on the new cor solo to follow!