Hermann Baumann, horn master and teacher
Private music lessons
Thank you for your understanding.
Hermann Baumann — Teacher, hornist
Eva Maria Gorres — Hornist (student)
Cayetano Granodos-Conejo — Hornist (student)
Angela Oehmke — Hornist (student)
Paul van Zelm — Hornist (student)
Olivier Bernager — A collection by
François Manceaux — A collection by
This masterclass focuses on the horn player Hermann Baumann, a musician with a highly atypical career and personality, a virtuoso with a genuine passion for his instrument and for passing on his skills.
Filming horn lessons represented a challenge in itself. How best to convey the subtlest technical details in a domain where very few music-lovers possess any points of reference?
Mozart showed an interest in the natural horn in the 1780s with his four concertos. Some twenty years later, Beethoven with his Sonata in F major op. 17 (1800), his pupil Ferdinand Ries and his contemporary Franz Danzi, wrote extensively for the instrument at a time when the fine natural horns of the Parisian maker Antoine Courtois were widely played. Once its technique was modernised, with the invention of the chromatic valve horn by Heinrich Stölzel and Friedrich Blühmel in 1813, the romantics realised the uses to which they could put an instrument that had become surprisingly virtuosic. In 1849 an enthusiastic Robert Schumann composed two works for the new horns which were beginning their career in the orchestras of Europe. They possessed three or four valves which lowered the note, thus making it possible to introduce all the notes of the chromatic scale. Schumann wrote in quick succession the Adagio and Allegro, op. 70 and the Konzertstück for four horns, op. 86.The new instrument was now more and more widely employed, gradually moving from the functional spirit of a sublimated hunting call in the music of Mozart and Haydn, through symbolism of nature in Weber and Schumann, to identification with the cult of the hero in Wagner, Mahler and Strauss. The twentieth century was to find in this supremely Romantic instrument an accomplice in its quests for new sonorities, orchestral (Ligeti) or even theatrical (Berio, Kagel).
These lessons present several of the major works for horn. Hermann Baumann's approach to teaching blends elements of style, technique and personal taste in an alchemy as freely inventive as it is effective. The lesson also reminds us that the horn's demands in terms of breath control by no means place it outside the province of women. and if one asks the master whether he has a secret for ensuring reliable performance on this instrument whose instability both delights and terrorises horn players, conductors and audiences, he has but one answer: practise hard and do yoga.
Private music lessons: twelve hugely influential programmes broadcast by French television between 1987 and 1991. The guiding principle for Olivier Bernager and François Manceaux was to capture the art of the leading performers of our time, live in concert but also and above all in a teaching environment.