Why I love the Brandenburgs – a horn player’s perspective

Hi, I’m Gavin Edwards, the AAM’s new principal horn, and ahead of our tour of the UK playing JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, here are a few thoughts about why they are just such wonderful music.


The Brandenburg Concertos stand out as the greatest show pieces for orchestral instrumentalists. Each one has its own character, but they all work together like a happy, contented family.


Concerto No.1 for me has the greatest range of emotion, the opening hunting horn calls crashing against the rest of the band, quickly dissolving into the glittering ensemble. The second movement has the happiest, graceful swing that carries you along smiling (or trying to smile with a horn stuck to your face). The quiet pulsing third movement gives us horn players a welcome break – listen out for the sucking, popping sound of horns being pulled off faces – but really enjoy the plaintive woodwind and string playing, a lovely moment of quiet reflection. Finally we come to the fourth movement, with the horns playing a very simple hunting call, answering each other under the woodwind and strings’ gentle Menuetto dance. A series of interludes bring us to the woodwind and horns’ trio. This is back to the outdoor playing, made for scaring foxes and most horn players, but it is great fun. Now we can sit back and watch the trumpet player go purple, playing as high as you can get. This is why I love the Brandenburgs.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s