The China Horn Ensemble was conceived in Beijing in 2015 by Yi Man, horn professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, with the aim of developing and popularising horn music in China.
The idea attracted support from leading Chinese horn players all over the world. The ensemble was founded in late 2015 and has since become one of China’s top chamber ensembles.
This collection is thus presumably an attempt to popularise horn music to an audience that is not familiar with it and, possibly, more used to hearing western music on film soundtracks. As a result, the collection is approachable, sounds film score-ish in places, and in some parts gets a little cheesy/school orchestra playing to proud parents (not that the playing is not good, of course).
Fans of classical soundtracks (and possibly Andre Rieu) might find this appealing, more snobby music fans perhaps having it in the car to hum along to while driving as a guilty pleasure.
It’s a well-planned programme, and opens with a fanfare: Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony’s short Hunting Fanfare. The programme then takes in various pieces, from Beethoven’s Egmont Overture to the famous music from the Hamlet cigar advert, aka Bach’s Air On The G-String, and some modern tunes too: Gershwin’s Someone To Watch Over Me – where it all goes brass band-y – and Darn That Dream, a number one in 1940 for Benny Goodman and His Orchestra. It’s an entertaining and pleasant CD. Out on OEHMS, OC 1870.