Horn Review by John Cox.
Medlin horns show promise to become quite popular once they have been ‘discovered’. Jacob Medlin’s study and knowledge, custom approach of building a horn to fit a musician’s needs and desires, and attention to playing and aesthetic details suggest that every horn will have consistent characteristics, yet each horn will be optimized to both fit the performing artist and bring out the best potential of a particular instrument. This recalls the best efforts of Geyer, in which every horn is similar, yet quite different and reflective of the ordering individual.
The upper register is warm, open, and singing without being bright - not pinched or requiring the player to physically ‘overcome’ the difficulties of playing high. The same instrument has solid and dense sounding middle and low registers. The intonation in all registers and dynamics is even. There is no pitch sagging in the upper register when making a diminuendo, and the sound is homogenous from note to note and low to high. Articulation is clean and quick to respond, yet the response allows beautiful slurs that have a liquid quality. The sound has great focus, yet is based on an aural concept demanding warmth and beauty first, with an air of mystery, and they seem remarkably efficient in the energy and effort needed to play them – qualities that help with pitch, accuracy, and confidence at the end of a tiring concert. They maintain that warmth of tone through all dynamic ranges.
These horns will deserve consideration when looking for a new instrument that will be easy to play and mechanically reliable while wanting to project a traditional horn sound.
-John Cox (Principal Horn, Oregon Symphony.)
October 19, 2009