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An excellent example of Holton’s copy of the older version of the Paxman Model 40 Bb/A+/ F alto horn.

This very fine yellow-brass lacquered horn has a detachable bell-flare and comes in a Paxman fibreglass ‘suitcase’ with a shoulder strap.  Players who regret that Paxman changed the design of their Model 40 (only to see it copied, firstly by Holton and then by Conn!) in the mid-1980s will be very happy with this lovely horn; even more so when they discover that the H-200 has a bell-throat profile that is very similar to the current Paxman ‘Europa’.

The horn’s owner recently made a very effective adjustment to the length of the F alto horn, removing 15 mm of its cylindrical tubing so that this ‘descant’ side of the horn can now play at pitches higher than A 440, up to about A 443. Of course, as the late Dick Merewether pointed out in his book ‘The Horn, The Horn’, the intonation of the F alto as well as the Bb horn can be seriously compromised by a careless right-hand position, too much ‘cupping’ of the palm leading to a flat high register in particular.

   About 6 months ago I played the ‘Quoniam’ aria from Bach’s Mass in B minor on a Holton 200 model whose F-alto side had been similarly shortened, and it was probably the most accurate performance of the piece I have ever givenEvery pitch seemed reassuringly ‘slotted in place’.


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