Vienna horn by Robert Engel

Engel Vienna horn

Engel Vienna horn

I've been very happy with the Engel Vienna horn I got in 2003. I love the tone of the classic Vienna Horn and still prefer my horn over any other Vienna horn I have tried. Next time I play the Brahms symphonies, I would like to try using this horns.

According to Prof. Gregor Widholm, Institute for Viennese Sound Style (IWK), Engel learned his job (about 1940) with Franz Zischek who was an instrument maker in Vienna in the first half of the 20th century. After Zischek retired he took over his crafts enterprise and worked till 1998. His enterprise is now closed, as he found no successor. Between 1980 and 1990 he did some experiments in cooperation with the horn players of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and built F-B flat double horns with the bore shape of Vienna Horns. There exist a lot of his instruments in Austria which are played up to now by professionals.

The horn came with Engel #3 mouthpiece. It is typical Viennese mouthpiece with narrow rim, deep funnel cup and larger stem to fit old crook (bogen). The bore and the innner diameter of the rim is close to my current mouthpiece Bach #7 which I use on my Paxman double horn. I wanted a back-up and I sent the original to Tom Greer of Moosewood for a copy. Before I send the original to him, I marked the stem lengthwise with a Sharpie pen, put it in the crook and twisted, so he could see what sort of stem taper to make. It took several weeks and I got two-piece mouthpiece (Giardinelli thread) but duplicating the exterior of the original. The rim is very comfortable. Surprisingly the copy plays much better in projection than the original. I'm completely satisfied with Tom's craftsmanship. Tom also made for me a mouthpiece adapter which allows old F-crook to acccept standard mouthpieces.

Vienna horn mouthpieces (top to bottom): PHC #22 (Bore: 5.20mm, Slightly double-bowl shaped, after a Viennese design) with Moosewood adapter, Moosewood E3 (copy) and Engel #3 (original)
Engel #3 (left) and Moosewood E3 (right)

Copyright © 2004 Toru Ikeno