Interview with Radek Baborák

Mr. Baborák, you recently decided to work with Dietmar Dürk to create the Model D3 Radek Baborák Signature Series. How did this come about?
I was thrilled that Dietmar Dürk asked me and am very happy to lend my name to this venture. It has been a new and wonderful experience for me, and I hope that other horn players will be able to profit from it.

So a partnership was formed, and then you chose the model D3. Can you tell us why?
In the past, I never really tested horns; my teachers and I simply went together to look for the best horn we could find. To tell you the truth, I never really thought about it a lot. For years I played a model 103 and then about a year ago, I tried out the D3. The really special thing about this horn is how readily I identified with it. It doesn’t take months to find your timbre and intonation, and you don’t have to be afraid that it might not perform the same way during a concert. It is immediately comfortable to hold and play. My life has been full of changes; first I was an orchestral musician, then a soloist and conductor, and now here I am configuring the D3! Each component of this model is good in and of itself, but its contribution to the overall effect can change from instrument to instrument. That’s why I individually configure each instrument so that all components compliment each other perfectly and give you a truly fantastic horn!


How does it feel to play a horn that bears your own name?
What’s important to me is not the name, but the results. I am truly satisfied with this horn and love playing on it, but it’s a huge responsibility. I configure and play each horn so that it works for me and hope that in so doing, I can help those who buy and play it to find their own sound. That’s why I spend a lot of time with each individual instrument.

Do you plan to play the Radek Baborák Signature Serieshorn on your future concert engagements?

In a word… Yes! The D3 is my instrument of choice, also for the future.


You have only been playing a Radek Baborák Signature Series horn for a little while now. How is it working out for you so far?
Really well. The D3 Signature Series is a horn for all occasions. With it, I can imitate the sound of a natural horn. When I play on the F side, no one will notice that I’m not playing a French hunting horn, because I can make it sound equally brassy, brutal and aggressive. But I can also imitate the mellow Viennese horn sound on it. I can get a broad, German sound with it for Brahms or Bruckner, and also play modern pieces with all sorts of different timbres and effects. Baroque music also sounds wonderful played on it. Yes, this is definitely the horn to have.


So the horn is versatile and can be used in many different situations. How
would you describe the timbre?

In my opinion, the tone quality is a blend between a traditional German horn sound and the requirements of modern taste. An instrument’s task is to  reinforce the player’s concept of tone quality, and this instrument really makes that possible. The sound is created in your mind and the instrument must then help you express it. I prefer to play unlacquered instruments, because (and this is for sure psychological) I feel closer to the instrument and seem to be more in contact with its substance. A lot of people say that no matter what instrument I play, it sounds good, but that’s not true. Naturally, I have my own concept of sound, but sometimes it’s easy to express and sometimes it’s not. Some instruments are like your enemy and give you problems with intonation, have a poor tone quality, or are simply too heavy or not very ergonomic. The D3, on the other hand, is like a partner! That is why I chose this horn; I can depend on it.

Since you take an active part in configuring and testing, what distinguishes the D3 from other horns?

What I really notice is how uniform the quality of the instruments is. Of course, you have to break an instrument in and play on it for 2 or 3 weeks before it’s the way you want it. No horn is perfect! You have to adjust the intonation of the scale by hand and make small corrections with your mouth and by using alternate fingerings. But with the D3, the intonation and everything else is amazingly easy. There’s simply not much to correct, so that’s one excuse fewer! When you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects, it frees you to think about the music.

DürkHorns would like to express our deepest thanks to Radek Baborák for this promising collaboration.