Has anyone ever heard of a horn player by the name of Anthony Halstead? I just bought a recording of the Britten Serenade with him playing and some other guy singing. I was just wondering if anyone has heard of him. If so, please tell me what you know. Thanks.

Tony Halstead is now one of the world's foremost players of the early horn, playing with the Hanover Band and other London 'period instrument' groups. He is also diversifying his career into conducting and harpsichord playing.

Originally a pianist, he comes from Salford and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music where he came under the influence of the great horn player and teacher Sydney Coulston and turned to a career as a horn player. He was successively principal horn in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra before specialising in the early horn. He is well known as a teacher (a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music) and lecturer for British Horn Society events etc. It is a pity that you chose to refer to the tenor as 'some other guy!'

I have been inspired by this sudden chat about Tony Halstead to share a couple of thoughts, as he may have been slightly underrepresented on the list.

There is much more to AH than a hand horn player. Last year, I shared a recording (live) of the Beethoven Sextet with Dennis Brain and Alan Civil with seven or eight members of the list. In my "notes" I stated how Civil was a poor candidate for the notorious second part and it was edited accordingly and he struggled gamely through. There was much more to the story than that, but, that is sufficient background.

I have in my collection a gem, The Beethoven Sextet recorded (live) 19 April 1981 with Michael Thompson and Tony Halstead, horns. Halstead's performance is no less than astounding on the second part. The finest I have ever heard, live or recorded. I can think of two or three commercial recordings of this piece you would throw in the trash if you heard this one, thanks to the artistry of Mr. Halstead.

Also, thank you to Mr. Mason for reminding everyone of Mr. Halsteads participation in the Tuckwell Videotape and, Significa last year. It was a lot of fun. Also, I don't believe that he has been with the Hanover Band (as a principal) for many, many, years. He has conducted though.

As long as we are hearing about this wonderful player, let me relate another amazing story:

Years ago, around 1979, I was working on my Master's at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Mr. Thomas Holden. Some artist (soprano or flutist, regretfully, I forget her name) was in town for a recital. We found out during the day of the recital that Mr. Halstead was touring with her doing the piano accompaniment.
Mr. Holden talked Mr. Halstead into doing an impromptu Master Class. As I was the graduate assistant in horn, I was asked to play. I brought in the Hindemith Sonata, but I had no accompanist on such short notice. Mr. Halstead said that was no problem as he would play the piano for me. I then stated I would have to go to my locker where the piano part was, but he said not to bother. He played the entire piece on the spot from memory. I heard no mistakes!

We all know by know that Anthony Halstead is an excellent pianist, hand-horn player, intellectual guy and so on. Here are a couple more goodies:

He is also a baroque expert and conductor. I read in yesterday's local newspaper here in Uppsala that his newly released recording of Drottningholms Music of Roman with the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra (Naxos label) is no. 14 on the Swedish top CD lists and is the fastest climber on the list for the past week!
He is also responsible for the page in Farquharson Cousins book where he lists 50 valid fingering combinations on double horn for a 4-note figure in Strauss Don Juan...

People unfamiliar with his playing might want to check out his recordings of the Mozart concerti, the Weber Concertino (Nimbus), or (my personal favorite) Haydn 31 (L'Oiseau-Lyre 430082-2).

As someone has already mentioned, Anthony Halstead is not only a fabulous horn player, he is also a fine pianist. Back when Walter Hecht was in his entrepreneurial mode, he offered us (and I bought) a videotape of Barry Tuckwell playing the Beethoven sonata on hand horn (among other pieces). The piano player is none other than A. Halstead. But Halstead's greatest claim to fame is that he was the answer to one of Walter's Significa questions about a year ago.

BTW, The Horn Call published a lengthy interview with him in one of the 1996 issues. He's clearly a true intellectual, very thoughtful, very well read, and one of those musicians who's as comfortable expressing himself with words as with his instrument.

This performer is one of the absolute BEST players of the Natural Horn. Have a listen to the following: Mozart Horn Concertos and EMajor Fragment; Anthony Halstead & the Hanover Band (all period instruments); NIMBUS Records compact disc, NI 5104. Hear what the Horn was supposed to sound like, Natural Horn mouthpiece and all!
When Halstead was a member of London Symphony, he had also worked with Paxman and developed a series of mouthpieces. Halstead-Chidell Screw-Rim Mouthpiece is made of solid nickel silver(not plated). Original Range: 18.50 mm internal diameter, 5.20mm bore. "A" Range: internal diameter 17.50mm, 4.50mm bore. Each range has four rim widths and four cup depths. It means that there are 64 combinations possible.
In addition to all the accolades already given to Antony Halstead he has also composed for horn. If you want a REAL challenge try his "Suite for Solo Horn".
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