Coming to The Audiophile Society this March:  Pedro Diaz's Bel Canto: Concerti For The English Horn

Coming to The Audiophile Society this March: Pedro Diaz's Bel Canto: Concerti For The English Horn

David Chesky

As the principal English horn of the Metropolitan Orchestra in New York City, multi-instrumentalist Pedro Diaz stands distinguished as one of the pre-eminent contemporary English horn performers. In Bel Canto: Concerti for English Horn, with accompaniment from Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (under the masterful direction of Ricardo Frizza), Pedro Diaz’ virtuosity brings life to compositions by Donizetti, Reicha, Pilotti, and Mares: four titans of the English Horn Repertoire.
However, Diaz’s contributions to the instrument extend beyond his performance; Concerti For The English Horn is the marvelous fruit following years of arduous academic research that has revived brought color to the instrument’s vivid history. During a pilgrimage to Bergamo (Donizetti's birthplace) and Bologna, Diaz uncovered the original - never before seen - orchestra parts for Donizetti's Concertino in F. The subsequent critical edition published by Diaz, and his performance captured in this recording have allowed audiences worldwide to finally hear Donizetti's seminal work for the English Horn as the composer originally intended.
Naturally, Pedro Diaz is also an Audiophile himself, you can follow his work on his Youtube Channel: de Audiofilos y Locos. The Audiophile Society has the distinct privilege of presenting Bel Canto: Concerti for the English Horn in our proprietary Mega-Dimensional™ sound. Our individualized high fidelity headphones and speaker mixes will allow you to experience these performances with more depth, clarity, and a more expansive sound stage than ever before; this immersive aural experience will place you in the best seats at an Italian concert hall more than two centuries ago, you might even try to walk down and shake hands with Donizetti himself.
All Audiophile Society downloads come in a choice of two audio packages: The Hi-Res PCM Package (which includes a 192/24 speaker mix, a 96/24 headphone mix, & a DSD speaker mix) or The DSD & 48/24 Package (which includes a DSD speaker mix, a DSD headphone mix, a 48/24 speaker mix, and a 48/24 headphone mix), all in Mega-Dimensional Sound™

Diaz's Discovery in Bergamo, Italy

Excerpt from: A New Key for the Donizetti English Horn Concertino
by Natalie Lorch
"English horn players the world over have wondered why Donizetti wrote his Concertino for English horn and Orchestra in such a high register for the instrument. Our standard performance part, the 1966 edition by Raymond Meylan, is written in the key of G (D on the English horn.) Meylan based this edition on the G major autograph score in Paris, and he reasoned that the piece was written for an english horn pitched in G. However, as Robert Howe explained in his lecture at IDRS 2014, very few, if any, extant english horns in museums are pitched in G.
New evidence suggests that Donizetti actually intended the concertino to be performed in the key of F major. Last June, Pedro Díaz made an illuminating discovery in the Donizetti archives in Bologna. He found a set of orchestra parts for the concertino, dated 1816, in the key of G; an 1817 set of parts in F; and one 1816 solo part in C. Since the first performance took place on June 19th, 1817, in Bologna, the premiere most likely utilized the 1817 set of parts in F. While Donizetti may have originally conceived the piece in G, he probably transposed the parts into F specifically for the premiere. As evidenced by the lone solo part in C, Donizetti clearly intended the English horn soloist to play in the written key of C, regardless of the concert pitch of the accompaniment. For those of us accustomed to the solo part written in D, this brings the whole piece down a step and into a more comfortable register.
Numerous pitches, rhythms, and figurations in the Bologna solo part deviate from the Meylan edition. In his lecture at IDRS, Díaz gave a preview of some of these differences. For example, the Scottish snap in measure 72 of the Meylan edition appears in the Bologna part as four straightforward sixteenth notes, a much more stylistically appropriate figure for the period. Intriguingly, numerous ornaments and a few cadenzas are written into the part. Whether these embellishments originate from Donizetti or an early performer, they constitute an excellent guide to a historically informed performance.
In his IDRS 2014 gala performance with the West Point Band, Pedro Díaz reproduced all original pitches, rhythms, and ornaments from the Bologna solo part. The band arrangement, originally conceived by Nora Post and arranged by SGM Douglas Richard, very effectively brought out the festive spirit of the piece. Piccolo, oboe, clarinet, and brass shimmered buoyantly through the tutti sections. The lower pitch level allowed the English horn to project more fully, and the band never overpowered Díaz’s warm, clear sound. Díaz stylized his performance with tasteful rubato, nimble dynamic changes, and graceful ornamentation.
For those who would like to start practicing the solo part in the written key of C, Mark Biggam’s arrangement of the piece in F for English horn and string quartet, featuring Díaz’ own opera buffa-style ornaments, is now available at TrevCo. Be on the lookout for Díaz’s new edition of the concertino, which will incorporate the most recent discoveries from the parts in Bergamo!"

Pedro Diaz

Pedro R. Díaz has served as solo English hornist for The Metropolitan Opera since 2005, performing in hundreds of productions. Considered one of the pre-eminent players of his generation, his playing has been hailed by critics as evocative, eloquent and expressive. He is a sought-after teacher, lecturing
throughout the United States, Canada, Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Leipzig, Berlin, and Italy.