As well as providing the first recordings of interesting but unknown works by Jean-Michel Damase and George Marshall-Hall (the first Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne), this beautifully recorded disc taps something of the essence of the horn’s mythology: its sense of radiant remoteness, as though heard from a far hill, and its insinuating smoothness like a truly excellent wine.
The excellence in the wine in this case is due to the golden, expressive and flexible quality of Ben Jacks’s playing. He is supported by the legendary horn player and now promoter of young talent, Barry Tuckwell, leading the Queensland Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
Damase’s concerto captures Arcadian neoclassical restraint while the Rhapsodie is a more romantically evocative seascape.
Marshall-Hall’s Phantasy has reserved cogency reminiscent of late Brahms while Charles Koechlin’s Poème is like a German woodland scene seen through the lens of French impressionism.