Concert and Recording Reviews
“In fact, the whole night was an adventure. The program included Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” given an achingly beautiful performance by clarinetist Steven Cohen; violinist Blair Milton, founder of the Winter Chamber Music Festival; cellist Stephen Balderston, and pianist Daniel Paul Horn.”
Dorothy Andries, Chicago Sun-Times, January 23, 2007
“The Graf piano played by Daniel Paul Horn on the CD Wanderings: Fantasies of Schubert and Mendelssohn belonged to Schubert’s patron, Leopold Sonnleitner. Horn plays with excitement, even ebullience, in the Fantasy in F# Minor, “Sonate Ecossaise,” showing the piano’s remarkable versatility through furious, cascading runs in which there are no blurred notes. It is a responsive instrument with fast action; quick forte runs tumble headlong or sometimes seem to gallop at the limits of the instrument. In the hands of Horn, the result is thrilling. At the opposite dynamic, the moderator pedal, which quiets the sound at the end of Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major, “Grazer,” creates an almost unearthly impression, soft yet clear. The force and power of the “Wanderer Fantasy” sound shocking in the opening measures. The timbre of the upper register takes some time to get used to. The sound seems almost iridescent, especially in the Schubert Fantasy in C Minor, D2e. In Mendelssohn’s Fantasy on an Irish Song, the piano needs more depth for the simple harmonies of the slow theme. These are minor quibbles on a recording that is sheer pleasure to anyone interested in early pianos.”
Philippa Kiraly, Clavier, December 2005 (volume 44, No. 10), p. 21
About Wanderings: Fantasies of Schubert and Mendelssohn, Titanic Records, Ti-236 -- “ . . . this whole CD is thought-provoking in its examination of the fantasy/ wandering: sonata/stability dichotomy, a rare example of imaginative programming in this medium.”
Peter Holloway, Harpsichord and Fortepiano, Spring 2000
“[Stephen] Balderston, assistant principal cellist of the CSO, rounded out the program with Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata, accompanied by pianist Daniel Paul Horn. … [F]ew play it as sensitively or musically as Balderston. His phrasing was long-breathed, resting on a smooth legato line, expressively warm and stylish. The pianist at times seemed overly deferential although he and the cellist were clearly of the same interpretative mind.”
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, January 25, 2000
About Wanderings: Fantasies of Schubert and Mendelssohn, Titanic Records, Ti-236 -- "The essential unanimity of design and manufacturing that today embraces a kind of comfortable homogeneity for their steel and ebony descendants didn't exist when Schubert and Mendelssohn composed the music Daniel Paul Horn performs so splendidly on this disc . . . . Mr. Horn paints the "Graz" in a kind of distant, ambrosial pastel that is further enhanced by a particularly sweet Conrad Graf six-and-a half-octave piano, built in 1828, the very year Schubert died. On this instrument the "Wanderer" Fantasy, too, benefits: the customary and usual bluster that so many players presume to impose upon it, as if its metier demanded it, is rejected by Mr. Horn, whose approach is judicious and measured . . . In the song inspired Adagio movement . . . his treatment of the wave-like passagework in scales is an object lesson in musical transparency . . . . According to his biography, Mr Horn is primarily a modern pianist, not an early music specialist., and one who has enjoyed a great deal of experience as a chamber music collaborator. And though his grasp of period practices and performance conventions is thoroughly informed, he turns his essentially late 20th century technique to his advantage. Not one to fetishize the idiosyncrasies of the instrument itself, Mr Horn simply sidles up to the pianoforte, making himself comfortable with its lightweight action and breezy sonorities. Never is there even the remotest feeling that he is kowtowing to the instrument, or walking on eggs lest something break underneath. Nor does he play slower or faster simply out of fear of what the instrument will bear. Instead, he allows musical considerations to guide him through every rhetorical twist and turn. Mr. Horn is a colorist at heart and not in the least ashamed of exploiting it, though as such he is neither egoistically willful. What's more, in comparison with some of the bloodless, reified accounts of certain early music scholars (the very ones who get a nosebleed at the very sight of a modern Steinway), that is refreshing and liberating.
John Bell Young, American Record Guide, March/ April 1999
About Wanderings: Fantasies of Schubert and Mendelssohn, Titanic Records, Ti-236 -- "What a beautiful recording. Daniel Paul Horn was a name completely unknown to me prior to the appearance of this disc, but I suspect that I will be hearing a lot more from this fine artist. Mr. Horn plays a Conrad Graf from circa 1829 in the Frederick Collection . . . It is a superb instrument, easily one of the best-restored and best-sounding Grafs ever captured on disc . . . The story behind this disc is two-fold: the wonderful program and the superb, stunning pianism . . . I have nothing but the utmost praise for Daniel Paul Horn in his interpretation of [Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy]. He sweeps the competition aside (what's that you say -- Sviatoslav Richter?) with his grand concept and magnificent execution. In every measure and phrase, Mr. Horn reveals himself as the master communicator, using the clarity of articulation and warm sound of his Graf to plead Schubert's (and Mendelssohn's) case. If there are any doubting Thomasas still out there concerning the fortepiano, they have but to hear Mr. Horn's superlative pianism to become 'converted.' My words are wholly inadequate to communicate the wonderful qualities of this recording . . . [I]t is sure to become a classic."
Chris Brodersen, Continuo Magazine, October 1998
"The playing [of Schubert's 'Wanderer' Fantasy] was sure and strong and the exciting finale an apt ending for the afternoon."
Claire Fern, The Hardwick Gazette (Hardwick, VT), July 15, 1997
"Pianist Daniel Paul Horn's powerful performances of Mendelssohn and Schubert opened the 55th year of the Adamant Music School, central Vermont's famed rural summer piano school. ... Most notably in [Mendelssohn's] large-scale Fantasy in f-sharp minor, Op. 28 ('Sonate ecossaise'), indeed a virtual sonata, Horn's directness, substantial technique, and clear affection for the music was most persuasive and resulted in a truly exciting performance. ... [In the Schubert 'Wanderer' Fantasy], Horn was successful at eliciting its grandeur -- as well as its tender and joyful lyricism.
Jim Lowe, The Montpelier Times Argus (Montpelier, VT), July 14, 1997
"Horn played with great technical skill, evident in the scherzi of Mendelssohn, as well as great strength when needed, as in the Schubert Wanderer-Fantasy. ... The program was well thought out, carefully crafted and gauged, and sometimes brilliantly executed."
Dan Wolfe, Shelburne News (Burlington, VT), May 10, 1997
"In Brahms' no less impassioned Cello Sonata No. 2, [Stephen] Balderston and pianist Daniel Paul Horn gave full vent to the work's ardent and ruminative elements, with notably magical playing in the Adagio."
Lawrence Johnson, The Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1997
"Sunday afternoon, Adamant Music School opened its 53rd year with a faculty recital that was as pleasurable as it was substantial and informative. Daniel Paul Horn . . . proved a substantial artist, particularly in Schumann's "Fantasie," Op. 17. . . Horn's performance ranged from tenderly expressive to positively grand. . . . Horn proved himself a pianist of great lyricism in Hindemith's Second Piano Sonata . . . In Debussy's Etudes, Book I, Horn took the audience through the great French Impressionist's explorations of piano difficulties, all with beautiful results."
Jim Lowe, The Montpelier Times Argus (Montpelier, VT), July 17, 1995
"[T]he featured guest artist was the brilliant young pianist, Daniel Paul Horn. [He] made his first appearance in the Piano Concerto, K. 467, by Mozart. Horn has done considerable research into the music of the Classic era, enabling him to project his unique interpretive ideas. . . [P]ianist and orchestra combined marvelously in the final movement, bringing the concerto to an exciting conclusion. . . . Horn made his second appearance of the afternoon in a splendid performance of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue' . . . Horn demonstrated a dazzling, bravura technique, and the superb support of the orchestra resulted in a most satisfying and thrilling presentation."
John T. Miller, The Grosse Pointe News (Grosse Pointe, MI), May 13, 1993
"Soloist Daniel Paul Horn played with brilliance, portraying with control and sensitivity the subtlety of Bartok's writing [in the Third Piano Concerto]. Technically demanding passages were smoothly and effortlessly in character; simpler passages were meaningfully played."
Jennifer DeLapp, The Daily Journal (Wheaton, IL), April 28, 1988
"Accompanying [tenor Timothy Jenkins] throughout was pianist Daniel Paul Horn, who . . . provided sensitive support. Sometimes deliberate and precise, Horn was indeed flexible enough to allow his soloist to soar."
Anthony Lacono, Salinas Californian, January 29, 1988
"Jenkins was accompanied by Daniel Paul Horn, a fine pianist with an acute ear."
Patrick Franklin, Monterey Herald (Monterey, CA), January 29, 1988
"Latest in the string of excellent pianists to come this way was Daniel Paul Horn, who gave an impressive recital. He displayed a clean, deliberate style in which each note seemed to take on an importance of its own."
Roy Morgan, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), December 9, 1983
"Daniel Paul Horn brought strength and character to his performances; but he could play with the utmost subtlety when it was required. It was an unalloyed pleasure listening to Horn play."
Gerald Elliot, Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI), October 3, 1982
"Leslie Bassett's convincing Music for Saxophone and Piano, in an unexploratory but coherent idiom, was forcefully projected by Peter Saiano and Daniel Horn."
Nicholas Kenyon, The New Yorker, February 8, 1982
"The performer's fine technique realized the music clearly and effectively. The final Rondo [of Op. 31, No. 1] was one of those Beethoven movements which demand both intense control and free, spontaneous playing. Mr. Horn lacked neither one of these. The audience's demonstrated appreciation was well-deserved."
John Detweiler, Brunswick Times-Record (Brunskwick, ME), July 26, 1977
"He played an extremely competent version of the [Ravel] Concerto, and one felt that in him was a large promise."
Collins George, The Detroit Free Press, March 6, 1973