An English horn is a double-reed orchestral instrument that is halfway between an oboe and a bassoon. It’s not used nearly enough. I’ve played it, of course, and the oboe. I think the English horn is more interesting (if somewhat less expressive than the oboe) in its tonal range, but there are few parts written for it.

Simply. Not. True.

EH can be as expressive — maybe more? — than oboe. I can’t believe someone would ever say that.

Of course maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe readers agree with the person above?

But what about Ravel’s English horn writing? Rodrigo? Berlioz? Even Rossini (although most people laugh now when the flute/EH section starts up, thanks to cartoons). Still, we have some great, expressive solos.

Now as to few parts … well, yeah, there are fewer than for oboe, to be sure. And you rarely find anything for more than one English horn. Too bad. It’s a blast to play. And two together is great fun!

Thank you Haydn, for Symphony No. 22! (I wish we played more Haydn, and I’d love to play that work again. I’ve only done it once, and that was years ago.)

Here are a couple of movements:

1 Comment

  1. as far as I understand, no instrument is ‘expressive’ all by itself and so to say that one instrument is more expressive than another strikes me as silly. and I agree there isn’t a ton of english horn stuff, but as you say it’s largely pretty sweet solos :)