Upwards #3

By Annette Zerpner Dec. 12, 2023


Our south elevator may be very slow, but it is also very spacious - timpani, harp or the rack in which several double basses are transported fit in effortlessly.

The entire eight-piece horn section (4 horns, 4 Wagner tuben), which is playing Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 this week, could also ride along with their instruments. With our French horns Yu-Hui Chuang and Timo Steininger we had an appointment for our quick questions.

The elevator door closes in slow motion.

What makes a good French horn section?

Timo: It doesn't sound like a number of individual horn players, but homogeneous, like a group. We have a very similar conception of sound, articulation and phrasing.

Yu-Hui: When someone new joins the group after the audition, it's important for us that not only the sound fits, but also the human aspect. That you can communicate well.

What's your favourite horn section passage in an orchestral piece?

Yu-Hui: There are many beautiful passages for the horn section in Bruckner's symphonies that we are looking forward to.

Timo: And we also know that it will be very challenging (both laugh).

Yu-Hui: The Wagnertuba movement in the Seventh is something very special. We cast these four parts from the orchestra. The four horns are joined by two colleagues from outside, as there are currently six of us in the section.

Timo: You have to rehearse the Wagnertuba separately. At least one day before the general rehearsals start. It's a different instrument. The chorales for it in Bruckner's Seventh were written at Wagner's death, it really is sacred music. Very solistic - but always for all four. You can train intonation and ensemble playing very well there. When it works, it's really extremely beautiful.

How many horns were your maximum line-up?

Yu-Hui: That was probably the "Alpine Symphony" by Richard Strauss.

Timo: ... there are twelve of us playing backstage and eight on stage.

Final question: Stairs or elevator?

Yu-Hui: Always the stairs!

Timo: That depends. In Bruckner's Seventh, I only have the Wagnertuba with me. But when we play the Eighth, four of us switch between horn and Wagnertuba. With both instruments, we sometimes take the elevator.


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