CD Reviews: Préludes, Caprices, Fantaisies - Concerts Cachés, Anneke Scott (horn). Resonus Classics, 2012.


The Horn Call (Journal of the International Horn Society). October 2013 (44.1)

Préludes, Caprices, Fantaisies - Concerts Cachés. Anneke Scott, natural horn. Resonus Limited, under license to Anneke Scott ASCD01.

Jacques-François Gallay, from the Douze grand caprices, Op. 32, Préludes mesures et nonmesurés, Op. 27, and the Fantaisies mélodiques, Op. 58: Caprices No. 1-12; Fantaisies No. 3-5, 7, 12-16,18,19, 21; Préludes No. 7,16,18, 23-25, 27, 28, 30-32, 40.

Hornist Anneke Scott is principal horn of Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and The English Baroque Soloists, Harry Christopher's The Orchestra of the Sixteen, Fabio Biondi's Europa Galante, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Dunedin Consort and Players, The Kings Consort and Avison Ensemble. She was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2007, an honor awarded to past students of the Academy who have distinguished themselves in the music profession and made a significant contribution to their field. Her résumé alone would tell you that she is an extraordinary period instrument performer.

In this recording, Scott brilliantly performs works by Gallay on the natural horn. Given the abundance of solo horn repertoire written by Gallay, the choices and organization of music on this CD make the disk approachable: Gallay's 12 Grand Caprices are performed in order, with each Caprice preluded by a selection from the 40 measured and non-measured preludes (1835) and in turn followed by one of the more melodic Fantasies dating from the 1850s. Scott's virtuosity on the instrument is a joy to hear. She deftly moves through the difficult hand-stopping technique, bringing out variety of color without losing anything in terms of phrasing and fluidity.

The extensive liner notes, written by Scott, give a detailed description Gallay's life as a musician and the culture of musical virtuosi with whom he lived and worked, producing his works as a composer and instrumentalist in Paris during the early 19th Century. Quotes about Gallay and the music of the period from such luminary musicians as Hector Berlioz and Felix Mendelssohn pepper her narrative with descriptions of the performance traditions of the time and actual accounts of Gallay's renowned musicianship. The instrument Scott performs on with such skill and lyrical grace is an 1823 Marcel-Auguste Raoux cor solo, loaned to her by the Bate Collection. This CD is a must-have for anyone learning natural horn or studying the music of Gallay, and is essential for anyone wishing to have a comprehensive collection of horn repertoire. 

Lydia Van Dreel


The Arts Desk (19th January, 2013)

Préludes, Caprices, Fantaisies – Concerts Cachés – Solo works for horn by Jacques-Françoise Gallay Anneke Scott (natural horn) (Resonus)

Jacques-Françoise Gallay was born in Perpignan in 1795. Precociously gifted as a horn player, he got his first professional job as a teenager and eventually enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire aged 24 to study both horn and composition. His reputation soon spread; Rossini wrote music for him and Berlioz was a fan. Valved horns were starting to appear in Germany, but Gallay remained loyal to the hand horn, later composing scores of solo works for the instrument. The instrument’s pitch is determined by the length of the crook inserted; Gallay never specified which keys he required, leaving it to the discretion of the performer.

Playing these pieces on a modern instrument is difficult enough. Hearing them performed with this much panache on an unvalved horn built in 1823 is astonishing. Anneke Scott’s playing is bold and dramatic, Gallay’s theatrical background reflected in the music’s swagger. These short pieces are essentially technical studies, but they’re consistently entertaining. Wisely, Scott doesn’t attempt to minimise the difference between the horn’s pinched, nasal stopped notes and the breezy natural harmonics, making the instrument sound much more natural, much more human. The faster moments are incendiary – I’m addicted to the flamboyant opening flourish of the fourth of Gallay’s Douze Grands Caprices. Scott has sequenced these short works neatly, and several of the slower, more reflective Préludes provide relief from the pyrotechnics. It’s wonderful – and appears on the Resonus label, which means that it’s a download only. But it’s reasonably priced, brilliantly recorded and comes with an excellent sleeve note.


In The Horn Player vol 9, no. 3 winter 2012/2013

Jacques-François Gallay: Preludes, Caprices & Fantaisies
Anneke Scott (natural horn)
Resonus RES10114

"In 2010 Anneke Scott was awarded a Gerald Finzi Scholarship to do research work in Paris into the works of Jacques-François Gallay. This CD is one product of this research. Her performance of three Gallay works at the BHS Festival in Cardiff this year certainly made a big impression on those who heard them. It was not only the facility of her playing but also the quality of her sound, dynamic range and musicianship. on this CD, she plays a cor solo of 1823 made by Marcel-Auguste Raoux loaned to her from the Bate Collection in Oxford. It is interesting to note that Marcel-Auguste Raoux played with Gallay during the period he was solo horn of the Théâtre Italien. 

Gallay was the last major hand-horn figure in France. He had succeeded his teacher, Dauprat, first at the Société des Concerts in 1841, and again in 1842 as natural horn professor at the Conservatoire. Berlioz was a great admirer of Gallay's playing and was one of many to comment on the brightness of his tone, the security of his attack, and the evenness of his sound between open and stopped notes. One of Anneke's teachers was Claude Maury, now the hand-horn professor at the Conservatoire, so it is fitting that she has made this recording. 

Many of us will remember our introduction to Gallay as students - perhaps, as I was, via his Préludes mésurés et non mésurés. I remember that, at the time, I found them difficult to understand. It was only in later life, when I took up the hand horn, that I realized how beautifully written they were for the instrument. Gallay did not specify the key or crook on which the pieces should be played. This has enabled Anneke to make a virtue of the fact by choosing crooks to match the character and atmosphere of each individual Caprice so that she creates a harmonic framework that gives structure to the complete set. 

On this CD, the programme is based around the complete Douze Grands Caprices, Op. 32, of 1838. Each of these is framed by a selection of pieces from his Préludes mesurés et nonmesurés Op. 27 and his Fantaisies Mélodiques, Op. 58. All of the pieces are quite short, lasting between one and four minutes. I found great pleasure in listening to this CD in the groupings which Anneke has devised. These are key works in the history of horn playing and are, for the most part, here being recorded for the first time. Anneke is to be congratulated on her artistry and her zeal in bringing these works to us." 


Fanfare - The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors,
March 2013, 367–368.

On this recording, Anneke Scott plays Gallay's compositions on a different horn made by Raoux in 1823. The first thing that you notice is the many different tone colors that we do not usually hear. Scott plays with such fine technique that the instrument's technical challenges are not at all apparent. There are three different kinds of pieces here. Some of Gallay's preludes are "non-mesuré" or unmeasured. They were written without the usual indications of rhythm and meter, thus allowing a degree of improvisation. Of the 11 preludes she plays, most of them are unmeasured and she plays them with propulsive, interesting tempos that form a perfect base for her colorful tone palette. Gallay's fantaisies are more melodic, sometimes verging on folk song. Scott plays them with fluent virtuoso technique and an obvious joy in playing that makes the listener want to learn more about the valveless horn. The caprices are measured but still allow for a great deal of individual expression from an artist with as much ability as Scott. Some of them are slow and show her incredible breath control. Others demonstrate her ability to play quickly and precisely without slurring the notes. Scott's virtuosity is definitely state of the art today.

(for full review click here)

"Scott plays with as much style and gusto as any soloist I’ve heard, and her technique on the natural horn is stunning."
( review of "Jacques-François Gallay: Preludes, Caprices & Fantaisies"
for full review click here

"This really is a rarity. A whole CD of solo works for natural horn – and one which is surprisingly easy to listen to. If the range is naturally limited, the musical invention is not and is well worth the investment of time to get to know these rare compositions."
( on Jacques-Francois Gallay; works for natural horn)