Hermann Baumann (1934 – ) has been one of the premiere
horn soloists since 1964, when he began pursuing a solo
career while teaching extensively. I recently watched a
52-minute masterclass conducted by Baumann, released
on DVD by Harmonia Mundi in 2011. It was another part
of the 12-volume, “Private Music Lessons” series, and
was directed by Heinz Peter Schwerfel (1954 – ).
While Baumann is featured working with various pupils,
there was also footage of him between these lessons,
wherein he discussed what it meant to be a teacher
and how he has benefited He also mentioned the
important role imagination plays in musicianship,
regardless of raw talent.
Anyone who is interested in the actual mechanics of
horn playing, including the myriad uses of the right hand,
will find this film interesting. Baumann even spent time
working with a student playing a natural horn (i.e., a horn
without valves), while he rehearsed Beethoven’s
“Horn Sonata, Op. 17.” Apparently, valves were invented
in 1813, thereby making chromatic passages infinitely
easier to play.
Other works featured in this masterclass were
Robert Schumann’s “Adagio and Allegro, Op. 78,” a
passage from Beethoven’s opera, “Fidelio,” involving
three horns and a modern work, “Impeto,” by
Hans-Georg Pflueger (1944-1999). In one instance,
it requires the player to sing one pitch while playing
another. Baumann then conducted a small chamber
orchestra while also playing Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart’s “Concerto K.417.”
Most of these sessions were presumably filmed at the
Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, which has been
renamed the “Folkwang Universität der Künste,” as of 2009.
Baumann taught at this university until 1996, and appeared
to be a very sympathetic and encouraging teacher, often
illustrating his points on his own horn. I highly recommend
this masterclass, which filmed in German with French and
English subtitle options.
Above all, this film emphasizes Baumann’s affection for the
horn; in fact, he stresses the importance of “falling in
love” with your instrument. As he said, “It must be so!”