The Alphorn BläserbetweenLammertalandZwieselalm(c)ORF

Alphorn and Annaberg – a success story

It is usually between three and four meters long, made of wood and emits a very special sound. Actually, one would rather expect the alphorn in the Swiss mountains, however, it is also used in the Lammertal. Some members of the Trachtenmusikkapelle Annaberg play this instrument, which is not common here in the region.

How does the alphorn come to Annaberg?

Sepp Pölzleitner, a passionate musician, was on business in Switzerland in 1991 when he became aware of something special: “In the narrow mountain valley of Menznau, wonderful alphorn sounds could be heard in the evening.” Back in Annaberg, he raved about the wonderful sounds to his fellow musicians. They, too, were enthusiastic about the idea of playing the alphorn: “I’m glad that the full bass flugelhorn part is there, even if in the beginning the wrong notes gave us a clean shiver,” laughs Sepp. Thanks to sponsors, the instruments, which cost around €2,500 per horn, could be ordered.

How does an alphorn sound?

Traditionally, the alphorn is made from spruce. Its shape bent at the bottom, the so-called funnel, is responsible for the sound. Since spruces like to grow on slopes and therefore crooked, and therefore already have a natural funnel, they were mostly used in the past to make the instrument. The spruce was peeled and cut in half lengthwise. Today there are specialized instrument makers who make an alphorn from suitable logs, but preferably still spruce. For some time now, the shape of the funnel no longer depends on the natural curvature, but is standardized. The sound is produced by the wind player, the technique is the same as used for brass instruments. Therefore, the alphorn is also called “natural trumpet”.

The Annaberg alphorns (c)Sylvia Schober
The Annaberg alphorns (c)Sylvia Schober

Benefit for a comrade

The Annaberg alphorn players, that is Sepp Pölzleitner, Franz Labacher, Christian Oberauer, Gerhard Eder and Rupert Pölzleitner. That is, all are unfortunately no longer there, member Rupert Hirscher can no longer play after a serious accident in 2001: “In 2002, together with the Trachtenmusikkapelle Annaberg, we organized a benefit at the Mahdalm under the motto “Musicians help” for his family,” reports musical director Franz Labacher, “almost 3000 people came, it was overwhelming.”

Wedding to hayART – the alphorn is there

Their four-part playing is rather unusual: “Normally, only one or two horns play together. It was a challenge to find the right tuning for everyone to play together, but this way the sound is much fuller,” Sepp explains. Disassembled into three parts, the alphorn is also easy to transport at weddings or for concerts: “The singer’s festival on the Dobratsch, which we attended, or the alphorn meeting in Goldegg were great experiences!”

There was a special performance for the alphorn players at the Lammertaler HeuART festivalin Lungötz. The musicians made themselves comfortable on an old-timer tractor, the instruments were wrapped in hay to match the festival, and this is how they presented themselves to the thousands of astonished people.

alphorn blowers at heuART
alphorn blowers at heuART

The alphorn players and Sepp Forcher

The alphorn players are not only popular with the audience as part of the Trachtenmusikkapelle Annaberg. For years, they also provided musical accompaniment to the AlmMusi Roas on the Zwieselalm and made the Gosaukamm all the way to the Dachstein glacier resound. Speaking of which, in 2013, on their 20th anniversary, the Annaberg alphorn blowers sounded in the broadcast “Klingendes Österreich” .Sepp Forcher presented on All Saints’ Day his “Heimatberge” and the alphorns could be heard on television against the magnificent backdrop of the Aualm in the Lammertal. This is also where most of the photos for this post were taken.


If you want to experience the Annaberg alphorn blowers once, keep an eye out for one of their performances in the event program of Annaberg-Lungötz – I can only recommend this pleasure to you!

Sounding Austria
Sounding Austria “Heimatberge” (c)ORF
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