AMERICAN HORN QUARTET
THE CHRISTMAS ALBUMHoliday Favorites for French Horns
Leroy Anderson-Fry & Turner, Albert Hague-Winter, George Frideric Handel-Jones, Jacob Handl-Turner, William James-Gregan, Felix Mendelssohn-Hackleman, Walter Perkins, Mel Torme-Perkins, Traditional-Brooks & Bock, Kerry Turner
AMERICAN HORN QUARTET
AMERICAN HORN QUARTET
Kerry Turner, Geoffrey Winter, Kristina Mascher-Turner and Charles Putnam
QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HORNS
Peter Luff, Malcolm Stewart, Ian O’Brien, Lauren Manuel and Vivienne Collier-Vickers
HARRY WILSON, didgeridoo
CHARLES PUTNAM and KERRY TURNER, percussion
LACHLAN HAWKINS, percussion & drums
PETER LUFF and KERRY TURNER, conductors
“This is not the first brass Christmas disc from MSR, but it is a noteworthy one... [in] a brief minute’s worth of Mendelssohn, bright and fresh in Kerry Turner’s arrangement for eight horns... lines are perfectly judged and balanced... [Kerry Turner’s Symphony of Carols] seems to bring a sense of depth to the experience rather than just to present a string of tunes, and succeeds excellently. The fanfares of the finale are delivered in the spirit of exultation... The richness of the chording in [Brooks’ arrangement of Lo, how a rose is e’er blooming] is gorgeous, and clearly the “rightness” of the sound is the result of much thought... [The Christmas Song is] heard here in a heart-warming arrangement by Walter Perkins (some superb control in the upper parts)... Perhaps horn players are not necessarily associated with the jaunty agility of Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, but the present performers completely nullify any such impression with a performance of immense joy and virtuosity... There are some passages [in Kerry Turner’s Hymnus which] sound of notorious difficulty, yet are tossed off non-chalantly while other hornists project a melody that soars above with a Richard Straussian nobility... plenty to enjoy here. The performance standard is positively stratospheric and certainly silences criticism; all is caught in a beautifully warm recording. Not just for horn players.”
Colin Clarke, MusicWeb International [November 2018]
“If you like the prospect of hearing the sound of nine horns in concert, you will be rewarded. Works by Mendelssohn and Handel (and Leroy Anderson) give the disc legitimacy. A pastiche of familiar carol fragments by conductor Kerry Turner gives it a holiday flavor. You’ll even get Mel Tormé’s The Christmas Song. All this is played expertly and enthusiastically by nine hornists”
George Chien, Fanfare [January/February 2018]
“Far from being just another 'Christmas in Brass' program of 'favorite carols,' this unusual and eclectic assortment of fourteen numbers consists of an ideal mix of well-known tunes combined with material most of us have never heard before... It’s all superbly played by eight horns... If your experience of listening to horns is limited to the orchestral repertory and perhaps a few standard concertos, then you may have no idea of what the instrument can do when put in the hands of eight virtuosos. With a range of over four octaves, a horn ensemble can sound almost like a full orchestra, and with the kind of players we have at hand, they can play almost anything a violin or clarinet can. The arrangements are done with taste, intelligence, and at times cleverness (some of the contrapuntal romps are truly amazing)... This will be [the [AHQ's] last recording, but it is one worthy of their memory, a testament to exploration of new worlds where others have not gone before.”
Robert Markow, Fanfare [November 2017]
“[The American Horn Quartet] sounds good, teamed with horns from the Queensland (Australia) Symphony in a program of Christmas music. Most of the arrangements are by AHQ member Kerry Turner, and as usual, he keeps the players busy with lots of fast filigree work.”
Kilpatrick, American Record Guide [November/December 2017]
"The players are clearly virtuosos, but there is no grandstanding here... Everything is in the service of camaraderie and warmth of feeling, an appropriate mixture for the Christmas season... Horn players will especially enjoy getting an earful of what their instruments, in combination, can sound like."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad.com [August 2017]
"a great stocking stuffer!"
Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet [August 2017]
“The Christmas Album is the ultimate treat for French horn fanciers... Nicely conceived and well-executed arrangements of traditional carols and pop songs with a Christmas theme... There’s a lot of variety in a program that ranges historically from the 16th century German carol 'Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming' all the way to 'You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.'"
Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta [December 2016]
PROGRAM NOTESFor many, Christmas time and music are inseparable. There have been countless songs, carols and musical compositions written on the theme of Christmas. Whether sacred or secular, music is an integral part of this festive holiday. When choosing which pieces to include on this Christmas album, we wanted to create one large opus that would serenade not only horn aficionados, but listeners all over the world, bringing them into the Christmas season. Following a previous successful collaboration on a large horn ensemble project, it was clear that the American Horn Quartet and horns of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra were destined to combine forces once more. This Christmas album is the result, and will be the last from the AHQ before their retirement. Thanks to the great artistry and support of all those involved, this magical program came into being, serving not only as a farewell to the horn world from the American Horn Quartet, but as a musical gift to the world at large. Merry Christmas!
In its 30th and final season, the American Horn Quartet is unique in the field of brass chamber music. The AHQ’s exuberant performances have brought audiences all over the world to their feet. In 1982, four American horn players who were working and residing in Europe met for the first time to explore the potential of the horn quartet, a chamber music formation with a much longer tradition than most people realize. Mastering the already existing repertoire, they subsequently went on to compose, arrange and commission new works for the horn quartet. The individual members of the AHQ are successful soloists in their own right, having won top international competitions in New York, Geneva, Prague, Passau, Markneukirchen and Munich. As a quartet, they took top honors at numerous chamber music competitions, including the Philip Jones International Brass Chamber Music Competition in Barcs, Hungary; the Notamus Competiton in Brussels, Belgium; and the Tokyo International Chamber Music Competition in Japan.. Over the past 20 years, besides being featured at horn and brass festivals around the globe, the American Horn Quartet has established itself at regular chamber music concert series on the international circuit. They have also appeared as soloists with numerous symphony orchestras, among them the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Brabants Orchestra of Eindhoven, Sinfonia Varsovia, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio and Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Some of the highlights of the AHQ’s performing career include their appearance at the Barbican Centre in London, with the Tonhalle-Orchester in Zürich, a recording collaboration with the horn section of the New York Philharmonic, a recital in Melbourne, Australia, with horn soloist legend Barry Tuckwell, performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, and a five-minute standing ovation at the 20th International Horn Society Workshop in Tallahassee, Florida. In total, the AHQ has presented more than 500 concerts and master classes worldwide, and produced ten critically acclaimed CDs. For individual biographies of the AHQ members, visit www.hornquartet.com.
Kristina Mascher-Turner: Ricco Kühn X383 triple horn
Charles Putnam: Rauch double horn
Kerry Turner: Paxman triple horn
Geoffrey Winter: Paxman Model 72 XL bore horn
Malcolm Stewart heads up the QSO Horns as Principal and is the most recent appointment. Malcolm’s glorious sound and exceptional musicianship is the perfect addition to this wonderful ensemble. He has held Principal positions in Australia and overseas, but has made Queensland his home where he enjoys his other passion, fishing. The inimitable Peter Luff is next in command as Associate Principal Horn.The QSO horns are lucky enough to have two extraordinary first horns, and little separates them other than Luff’s ability to surreptitiously incorporate “Pop goes the Weasel” in any key, style, mode or tempo in any orchestral work, both in rehearsal and performance. Ian O’Brien is Principal 3rd, and apart from his marvelous horn playing, he is the only person in the section who will reliably know what the count is in the bars of rest. Ian has achieved a PhD in Audiology, therefore his ears are in the best shape in the section. When Ian isn’t playing the horn or peering in peoples’ ears it’s hard to believe he has time to engage in his other pursuits of playing guitar and recording/editing music. Lauren Manuel and Vivienne Collier-Vickers, apart from creating gender balance and being the youngest and oldest members in the section, are the glue that binds the high players together with their low registers. Lauren’s versatility as a hornist means she is often called upon to display her talents as a high player in the section when necessary and is a sought-after guest player in Australia and New Zealand whilst Vivienne has long been regarded as one of Australia’s finest low horn specialists.
Malcolm Stewart: Alexander 103 horn
Peter Luff: Darin Sorley Custom GS-1 double horn
Ian O’Brien: Engelbert Schmid double horn
Lauren Manuel: Alexander 103 horn
Vivienne Collier-Vickers: Alexander 1103 horn
PROGRAMFelix Mendelssohn (arr. Hackleman)
SYMPHONY OF CAROLS
Jacob Handl (arr. Turner)
ASPICIENS A LONGE
Traditional German Carol (arr. Brooks & Bock)
LO, HOW A ROSE E’ER BLOOMING
George Frideric Handel (arr. Jones)
FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN
William James (arr. Gregan)
THE THREE DROVERS
Mel Torme (arr. Perkins)
THE CHRISTMAS SONG
Leroy Anderson (arr. Fry & Turner)
Albert Hague (arr. Winter)
YOU’RE A MEAN ONE, MR. GRINCH
Symphony of Carols available from Paddi’s Prints. For Unto Us A Child Is Born available from Solid Wood Music [ www.solidwoodmusic.com ].
For all other pieces, contact Kerry Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.