Let me interrupt my posts on diversity in drag racing (here and here) and on the Cape Town New Year’s Carnival (here) and talk about Lowell Greer’s concert and masterclass at the University of Virginia, last Saturday. Despite having held the position of solo French hornist in a number of major orchestras, Greer is probably best known as a performer on the natural horn--that is, a horn without valves, the ancestor of the modern valved horn. It’s the horn that composers such as Bach and Mozart wrote for.
It makes sense then, that Greer was in town to perform a concerto for two horns and orchestra by Georg Philipp Telemann (one of Bach’s contemporaries) with Ian Zook, horn, and the University of Virginia’s Baroque Orchestra. The photos below are from Saturday morning’s rehearsal in Old Cabell Hall.
The natural horn of Telemann’s day was the not-entirely-legitimate offspring of the hunting horn and was still being tamed for the concert hall. The terrific performance by Greer, Zook, and the orchestra reflected this tension between the wild and the domesticated, blending earthy rhythms and subtle turns of phrase.
By the way, Greer is also a fine maker of natural horns. He made the instruments that both he and Zook played during the concert.