Soloist Tony Snyder on playing the Strauss Concerto

Our first set of concerts this season features our principal horn player extraordinaire Tony Snyder playing Richard Strauss’ Concerto No. 1 for French Horn.

After our rehearsal yesterday, Tony reflected on playing this concerto. Here’s what he had to say.

Tony Snyder
Soloist Tony Snyder rehearsing the Strauss concerto with the Winds.

This Strauss concerto is a favourite of mine.  I played it in university and again with the Wellington Winds a number of years ago.  All horn players, have a special place in their hearts for the music of Strauss, who wrote some of the most glorious music for the instrument. 

Strauss was the son of the principal horn player in Wagner’s opera orchestra.  As a baby, Richard would  smile and coo at the sound of the horn, whereas the violin made him cry.  He wrote this concerto at the age of 16 for his father. The music is light and youthful  resembling a young Mendelssohn more than the Strauss of the post-romantic era to come. 

Strauss’ father pronounced it too difficult and never played it.  Perhaps this snub sparked Strauss the younger’s fascination with Wagner’s music and the post-romantic style, which his father detested.  An example of teenaged classical composer rebellion, I suppose! What else could he do?  Motorcycles and Brylcreem hadn’t been invented yet! 

Nevertheless, late in life, Strauss revisited this neo-classical style to write a second concerto for horn, one of his last compositions, dedicated to the memory of his father (but, for the record, more difficult to play than the first. Take that Dad!)

For fathers and young musicians, Wellington Winds presents Strauss’ first horn concerto.

Please join us for this fabulous program, Konzert der Deutschen Musik!

Sunday October 19 in Kitchener
Sunday October 26 in Waterloo

For more information, visit our Events page.