French Horn Recordings

The sound of the horn is the soul of the orchestra

Robert Schumann

Developing a characteristic and flexible French horn tone is one of the most important things to teach students – especially younger students.

Not only is a good French horn sound important in an ensemble, but getting a good sound means that the fundamental playing mechanics are (probably) working well. It’s very hard to get a good sound without using enough air or with too much tension!

In order to recognize and internalize a good horn sound, though, students must be hear good sounds. While hopefully this happens in their private lessons (if they are lucky), the student should also be listening to quality recordings by great players.

Why Not YouTube?

I say “great” players, because for all the great things you can find on some streaming platforms (like YouTube or Spotify), there are also some things that are definitely not great.

If a student spends hours listening to recordings with a bad tone, poor rhythm, no musicality, or poor recording quality (just to name a few), then they may start to imitate those mistakes. I’ve had several students come to me with some questionable interpretations of popular solo works because of recordings they have imitated. While I’m able to fix those errors (and point them in the direction of good recordings), if they had found good recordings in the beginning they would have saved a lot of practice time and frustration!

Why Buy Recordings?

While we are living in the age of streaming everything, I encourage students to buy good recordings for the following reasons:

  • Buying a recording supports the whole classical music ecosystem. The record labels, recording studios, ensembles and performers. While most performers are not making a full-time living on recording revenue alone, buying a recording gives them much more money than streaming, and shows that you value their craft.
  • You get higher-quality audio. While this may not be as important for some people and some musical styles, I think getting the highest-quality audio for classical music is important.
  • You maintain access. Music comes and goes from YouTube/Spotify/etc. all the time. Your favorite horn player or ensemble may not always be available on your current platform.

If you don’t want to mess with CDs, you can always buy digital downloads (from a site like Amazon or iTunes). I buy CDs and rip them into high-quality MP3s and then add them to my Plex home media center.

French Horn Recordings

The following list is not an exhaustive list of good recordings. These are just some of my favorite soloists, small ensembles and orchestras. There are many other great recordings available.

If you’re looking for a few good ensembles or soloists, though, the following is a good start:

ArtistArtist Page (iTunes)Artists Page (Arkiv)TypeAlbum/MusicAmazonArkiviTunes
Radek BaborakiTunesArkivSoloRosetti ConcertosAmazonArkiv
Radek BaborakiTunesArkivSoloConcertos by Punto, Pokorny, RosettiAmazonArkiviTunes
Radek BaborakiTunesArkivSoloBritten Serenade with Berlin PhilharmonicAmazonArkiv
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiviTunes
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloHaydn ConcertosArkiv
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloGliere Concerto, Dukas Villanelle, Saint-Saens Morceau de ConcertAmazonArkiv
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloRichard Strauss Concertos 1 & 2AmazonArkiv
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloChamber works for Horn and PianoAmazonArkiv
Hermann BaumanniTunesArkivSoloConcertos and solo works (7 CD set)Amazon
Dennis BrainiTunesArkivSoloConcertos and solo works (4 CD set)AmazonArkiviTunes
Dennis BrainiTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiviTunes
William CaballeroiTunesArkivSoloStrauss Concerto 1, Beethoven 3AmazonArkiviTunes
Dale ClevengeriTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiv
Dale ClevengeriTunesArkivSoloHaydn ConcertosAmazonArkiv
David CooperiTunesSoloImpressionsAmazoniTunes
David CooperiTunesSoloFrench Horn and Piano CollaborationAmazoniTunes
Lowell GreeriTunesSoloMozart Concertos (Natural horn)AmazoniTunes
Lowell GreeriTunesSoloBrahms Trio, Beethoven Sonata (Natural horn)AmazoniTunes
Anthony HaldsteadiTunesArkivSoloMozart concerts (Natural horn)AmazonArkiviTunes
Anthony HaldsteadiTunesArkivSoloHaydn Concertos (Natural Horn)AmazonArkiv
Philip MyersiTunesArkivSoloWorks by Bernstein, Amram, Schuller, and othersAmazonArkiviTunes
Eric RuskeiTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosiTunes
Eric RuskeiTunesArkivSoloRomantic Concertos (Glier, F. Strauss, R. Strauss 1&2)AmazonArkiviTunes
Eric RuskeiTunesArkivSoloNight Poems (Solo music for horn)Arkiv
Eric RuskeiTunesArkivSoloJust Me and My Horn (Works for horn alone)AmazonArkiviTunes
Michael ThompsoniTunesArkivSoloConcertos by Rosetti, Vivalidi, L. Mozart, and HaydnAmazonArkiviTunes
Michael ThompsoniTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiv
Barry TuckwelliTunesArkivSoloSolo worksAmazoniTunes
Barry TuckwelliTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiviTunes
Barry TuckwelliTunesArkivSoloRichard Strauss Concertos 1 & 2AmazonArkiv
Barry TuckwelliTunesArkivSoloBaroque and early Classical worksAmazonArkiviTunes
Radovan VlatkoviciTunesArkivSoloMozart ConcertosAmazonArkiv
Radovan VlatkoviciTunesArkivSoloStrauss ConcertosAmazonArkiv
Sarah WillisiTunesArkivSoloRosetti ConcertosAmazonArkiviTunes
American Horn QuartetiTunesArkivEnsembleClassical Horn Quartets (Schumann, Telemann, Haydn, etc.)AmazonArkiviTunes
American Horn QuartetiTunesArkivEnsembleTake 9 (with New York Phil Horns)AmazonArkiviTunes
American Horn QuartetiTunesArkivEnsembleMyths & Legends: Ewazen, Turner, MachalaAmazonArkiviTunes
American Horn QuartetiTunesArkivEnsembleRicochet and other music by Kerry TurnerAmazonArkiviTunes
Canadian BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleEssential Canadian BrassAmazonArkiviTunes
Canadian BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleEcho – Glory of GabrielliAmazonArkiv
Empire BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleRoyal BrassAmazonArkiv
Empire BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleEmpire Brass on BroadwayAmazonArkiv
Empire BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleClass BrassAmazonArkiviTunes
German BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleBrass HommageAmazonArkiviTunes
German BrassiTunesArkivEnsembleCelebrating WagnerAmazonArkiviTunes
London Horn SoundiTunesEnsembleGive it OneiTunes
London Horn SoundiTunesEnsembleThe London Horn SoundAmazoniTunes
Berlin Philharmonic iTunesArkivOrchestra
Chicago SymphonyiTunesArkivOrchestra
Cleveland SymphonyiTunesArkivOrchestra
London SymphonyiTunesArkivOrchestra
New York PhilharmoniciTunesArkivOrchestra
Philharmonia OrchestraiTunesArkivOrchestra
Pittsburgh SymphonyiTunesArkivOrchestra
San Francisco SymphonyiTunesArkivOrchestra
Vienna PhilharmoniciTunesArkivOrchestra