by Matthew Haislip, D.M.A.


Rounding out my series of 150 great recordings is Part III: Fifty Great Orchestral Recordings. This was the most challenging list to create by far. I spent many months carefully listening to countless recordings and asking for recommendations to make sure I was sufficiently informed before finishing this list. The process led to many wonderful discoveries. I felt like a student again; listening to the same pieces played by different ensembles for days on end. It was exciting and fun!

In order to limit myself to fifty recordings, I decided to only choose CDs of orchestral music. This eliminated many outstanding operatic, ballet, film music, and wind band options that could comprise many individual lists in each category as well. In order to create some diversity of orchestras and pieces listed, I had to leave off some of my very favorite CDs. I did not seek to form a representative list of the “Top 50” of our orchestral excerpts with this list. Instead, I listed some of my favorite recordings across the repertoire that feature inspiring phrasing, sound, color, dynamic contrast, intonation, blend and balance in the horn section from an extensive range of ensembles. There is broad representation of stylistic traditions on this list, and it features orchestras from across the world. This speaks to the great wealth of exciting and inspiring recordings that are available to us as horn players.

It is my hope that this list and this series helps hornists old and young discover exciting recordings that they have not yet heard. We have such a wonderful world of recordings! Happy listening!

  • American Horn Quartet, Sinfonia Varsovia and Dariusz Wiśniewski: Concertos for Four Horns: Schumann: Konzertstück for 4 horns and orchestra in F major Op. 86, Handel: Concerto in F major HWV 331, Telemann: Overture "Alster-Echo" in F major and Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 31 in D major, Label: Naxos
  • Beethoven Orchester Bonn and Stefan Blunier: Schmidt: Symphony No. 2 and Richard Strauss: Festliches Praeludium, Op.61 (live), Label: MDG
  • Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Simon Rattle: Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (live), Label: EMI Classics
  • Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Simon Rattle: Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (live) and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Label: Warner Classics
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 and No. 11 “The Year 1905” (live), Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Claudio Abbado: Mahler: Symphony No. 5, Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Fritz Reiner: Respighi: Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome and Debussy: La Mer, Label: RCA Victor Living Stereo
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sir Georg Solti: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Label: London/Decca (the 1986 recording; not the 1972 recording on the same label)
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Sir Georg Solti: Mahler: Symphony No. 1, Label: Decca
  • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and JesúsLópez Cobos: Respighi: Church Windows, Brazilian Impressions and Roman Festivals, Label: Telarc
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Simon Rattle: Mahler: Symphony No. 2, Label: EMI Classics
  • Cleveland Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi: Dvorák: Symphony No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 and Scherzo Capriccioso, Label: London/Decca
  • Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell: Mahler: Symphony No. 6 “Tragic” (live), Label: Sony Classical
  • Consort of London and Robert Haydon Clark: J. S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.1, No. 2 and No. 3 (Richard Bissill plays No. 1 and No. 2 on horn), Label: Edgestone Classics
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton: Mahler: Symphony No. 4, Label: Delos
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Antal Dorati: Stravinsky: Petrouchka and Le Sacre Du Printemps, Label: London/Decca
  • The English Concert and Trevor Pinnock: Handel: Music For The Royal Fireworks and Concerti A Due Cori, Label: Arkiv Production
  • Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi: Atterberg: Symphony No. 4 and No. 6, Suite No. 3 for Violin, Viola and Strings and A Värmland Rhapsody, Label: Chandos
  • Houston Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach: Brahms: Symphony No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4, Alto Rhapsody, Academic Festival Overture, Tragic Overture and Haydn Variations, Label: Virgin Classics
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 and No. 5 (live), Label: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis: Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 (live), Label: LSO Live
  • London Symphony Orchestra and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos: Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie and Vier Letzte Lieder, Label: Collins Classics
  • London Symphony Orchestra and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos: Stravinsky: La Sacre du Printemps and Petrouchka, Label: Collins Classics
  • London Symphony Orchestra and Jascha Horenstein: Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 (live), Label: BBC Legends
  • London Symphony Orchestra and István Kertész: Dvorák: Symphony No. 5, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9, Label: Decca
  • London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas: Mahler: Symphony No. 7, Label: RCA Victor Red Seal
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen: Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, “Romantic”, Label: Sony Classical
  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Andreas Delfs: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 (live), Label: MSO Classics
  • New York Philharmonic and Kurt Masur: Dvorák: Symphony No. 8 and Janácek: Sinfonietta (live), Label: Teldec
  • New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein: Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (live), Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and John Eliot Gardiner: Schumann: Symphony No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4, Overture, Scherzo and Finale and Concertstück for 4 Horns and Orchestra, Label: Archiv Produktion
  • Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Charles Dutoit: Respighi: Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome and Feste Romane, Label: London/Decca
  • Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Pascal Rogé and Charles Dutoit: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Pavane pour une infante défunte, La valse, Piano Concerto in G major,  Le tombeau de Couperin, Valses nobles et sentimentales, Menuet antique, Fanfare for orchestra, Bolèro, Alborada del Gracioso, Ma mère l'oye, Miroirs, Rhapsodie espagnole, L'enfant et les sortilèges, Shéhérazade, Ouverture de féerie "Shéhérazade" and Piano Concerto in D major (for the left hand), Label: Decca
  • Philadelphia Orchestra and James Levine: Mahler: Symphony No. 9, Label: RCA
  • Philadelphia Orchestra, Mstislav Rostropovich and Eugene Ormandy: Shostakovich: Concerto for Cello in E-flat and Symphony No. 1 in F Major, Label: Sony Classical
  • Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen: Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps and Symphony in Three Movements, Label: Sony Classical
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (live), Label: Reference Recordings
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Marek Janowski: Brahms: Symphony No. 1 and Haydn Variations (live), Label: Pentatone Music
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 and No. 7 “Leningrad” and Festive Overture, Label: Decca
  • Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Neeme Järvi: Richard Strauss: Symphonic Poems, Volume 2: Symphonia Domestica, Till Eulenspiegel, Macbeth, Don Quixote and Also Sprach Zarathustra, Label: Chandos
  • Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and David Robertson: John Adams: Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places (live), Label: Nonesuch
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt: Hindemith: Mathis der Maler, Symphonic Metamorphosis and Trauermusik, Label: London/Decca
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt: Sibelius: Symphony No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7, Tapiola and Valse triste, Label: Decca
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt: Richard Strauss: Ein Alpensinfonie and Don Juan, Label: London/Decca
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas: Mahler: Symphony No. 3 (live), Label: San Francisco Symphony
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas: Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet - Scenes from The Ballet (live), Label: RCA Victor Red Seal
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Claudio Abbado: Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” and No. 8 (live), Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” and “Fidelio” Overture, Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Carlos Kleiber: Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 and No. 7, Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and André Previn: Richard Strauss: Rosenkavalier Suite, Intermezzo, Salome and Capriccio, Label: Deutsche Grammophon

Dr. Matthew Haislip is a hornist, teacher, and composer currently residing in Starkville, Mississippi. He serves as Assistant Professor of Horn at Mississippi State University, and he teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp during the summer months. He is a founding member of Quintasonic Brass, and he holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, and Texas A&M University-Commerce. He recently published a set of duets through Mountain Peak Music entitled Dueling Fundamentals for Two Horns. His personal website may be found at www.matthaislip.com.

Matthew is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

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