- Concerto for horn & orchestra No. 1 in D major, K. 412 (K. 386b)
- Concerto for horn & orchestra No. 2 in E flat major, K. 417
- Concerto for horn & orchestra No. 3 in E flat major, K. 447
- Concerto for horn & orchestra No. 4 in E flat major, K. 495
- Concerto movement for horn & orchestra in E flat major (fragment) K. 371
Jeffrey Bryant began his tenure as principal horn of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1975, and made this recording of Mozart's complete works for horn and orchestra in 1994. The soloist's decision of whether to use an instrument modeled on a natural horn of Mozart's era or a modern valve horn is the first question connoisseurs of these concertos will ask. Bryant uses a valve horn, which makes sense because he is accompanied by a traditional orchestra rather than an ensemble using period instruments. For fans of the valve horn, this is a very fine performance. Bryant has an exceptionally warm, open, and pillowy tone, characteristics of many of the finest British players, including Dennis Brain and Ivor James. He is easily up to the technical demands of the Mozart concertos, which to be fully effective must sound effortless. The mellowness of Bryant's playing is especially gratifying; there is no hint of the brassiness that can mar performances of music from the Classical era. Only in the closing notes of the fourth concerto's first movement does Bryant play with less than clean attacks (and it's also the only instance where his cadenza is in less than excellent taste). He tends to alternate between using lip trills and fingered trills when it would have made sense for him to stick with lip trills throughout. Thomas Dausgaard's reading with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a model of understated elegance. Whether or not that's an entirely good thing will depend on the listener's biases; there's one school of thought that these works are essentially playful, and some listeners may find Dausgaard's approach too sober. The sound is clean and transparent.