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04 June 2023
Beethoven, Mozart, Seabourne & Holloway: Horn Quintets

Ondřej Vrabec (horn)
Pavel Borkovec Quartet

Mozart’s famous horn quintet, one of the fruits of his collaboration with Ignaz Leutgeb, is complemented by three premiere recordings. Beethoven’s Horn Sonata was arranged for string quintet during his lifetime by Carl Khym and this forms the basis of a delightful rescoring by Sebastian Comberti which reinstates the horn. Recent works by leading British composers Robin Holloway and Peter Seabourne complete the disc; one warm hearted, the other intensely dramatic. Both were inspired by the artistry of the great Czech virtuoso Ondřej Vrabec, partnered here by the outstanding Pavel Bořkovec Quartet.


Ludwig van Beethoven transcr. Sebastian Comberti: Horn Quintet, Op. 17

I. Allegro moderato

II. Poco adagio quasi andante

III. Rondo. Allegro moderato

Peter Seabourne: Fall

I. Distant, hazy - suddenly wild, unrestrained

II. Very fast, hesitant, jittery

III. Very simply

IV. With driving urgency

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Horn Quintet, K.407

I. Allegro

II. Andante

III. Rondo. Allegro

Robin Holloway: Horn Quintet, Op. 135

I. Allegro: bold and pronounced

II. Canzona

III. Scherzo. Presto

IV. Rondo. Allegro commodo

Sound Recording/editing: Ondřej Vrabec
Total Time: 71:40
Release Date: December 2021

Ondřej Vrabec (horn)Conductor and horn player Ondřej Vrabec is an extraordinary figure on the Czech music scene. Whilst many leading instrumentalists feel drawn to the conducting baton from time to time, few can say that they have maintained such an impressive international schedule in both spheres. Ondřej Vrabec became solo horn of the Czech Philharmonic even before sitting his final school examinations at the age of 17 and has remained in that position ever since. He has also acted as Assistant Conductor for the same orchestra for many years - in fact only Jiří Bělohlávek has conducted them more this century!

Graduating from the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he has won numerous international prizes. He has regularly collaborated for many years with the world's élite wind players, performing alongside Maurice Bourgue in the oboist's renowned ensemble. He frequently presents solo recitals and is intensively involved in chamber music, primarily with the Brahms Trio Prague (whose Brahms Horn Trio recording was hailed by Fanfare magazine as "probably the greatest ever"), the PhilHarmonia Octet, Juventus Quintet, Czech Philharmonic Horn Club etc..

Ondřej Vrabec has directly and indirectly stimulated the creation of a large quantity of contemporary horn music - concerti, chamber and solo works. The majority of these are dedicated to him, with their international premieres being both performed and, as a rule, recorded by him. These include the Double Concerto for horn and orchestra by Peter Seabourne. As soloist he appears widely on the world's stages from London to Tokyo with major orchestras. He is also Professor of Horn at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

In addition to conducting the Czech Philharmonic he has made guest appearances with numerous other orchestras including Japan Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Reykjavík Chamber, London Soloists Chamber, Danish National Symphony, Prague Chamber Philharmonic and Lviv Virtuosi. He has performed as horn soloist with dozens of domestic and foreign orchestras. Above all, Ondřej Vrabec is a consummate musician with a staggering technique. Always meticulously prepared, he brings excitement, inspiration, insight and huge creative energy to every performance. Audiences feel immediate engagement and electricity when he plays! He is, in short, one of the world's great horn players.

Alexey Aslamas - 1st violin, Ondřej Hás - 2nd violin, Matěj Kroupa - viola, Štěpán Drtina - cello

The quartet was founded in 2011 and has made a name for itself with innovative programming. In addition to playing works both classical and contemporary, a special focus lies in the quartets of Pavel Bořkovec which the group has recorded for Czech Radio. The violist of the quartet, Matěj Kroupa, is the composer’s great-grandson and, in addition to promoting Bořkovec’s work he also, like his forebear, composes theatre and film music. This points to something else that makes the quartet exceptional: two members (Matěj Kroupa and Alexey Aslamas) compose and arrange extensively which increases the ensemble’s repertoire. It also allows the group to expand into multiple genres, for example in the collaboration with guitarist Michal Pavlíček and singer Monika Načeva. The quartet tirelessly promotes contemporary Czech composers such as Jiří Adámek and Martin Smolka, performing the latter’s chamber opera The Maze of Lists. The quartet was a finalist in the Johannes Brahms Competition Pörtschach (Austria 2018).

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