|Johannes Brahms||Trio For French Horn Violin And Piano Op. 40.|
|György Ligeti||Trio For Violin Horn And Piano.|
|Charles Koechlin||Quatre Petites Pièces Pour Piano Violon Et Cor (Four Little Pieces For Piano Violin And Horn).|
Johannes Dengler (Natural Horn & Double Horn), Markus Wolf (Violin), Julian Riem (Piano).
Brahms’ Horn Trio (Op. 40) composed in 1865 belongs to the most important and pivotal chamber music works of his entire output and has been recorded by the Munich Horn Trio exactly as he wanted to hear it: using historical instruments dating from the time of its composition!
Julian Riem plays on a perfectly restored Bechstein piano made in 1862, Johannes Dengler uses a reconstruction of an 1803 Halari natural horn and Markus Wolf has at his disposal a Stradivarius made in 1722.
The distinctive feature of the natural horn is its own particular tone quality which differs on each note of the scale. It was with this quality of sound in mind that Brahms wrote this piece, and for the rest of his life he tried to prevent any performance of it featuring a modern valve horn. After only a few bars of music it becomes quite apparent how well the original sound quality of the «old» instruments harmonizes with the composition – especially the various idiosyncratic tonal nuances of the horn.
Thanks to György Ligeti’s own horn trio, composed in 1982, Brahms’ composition is not the only work of this genre. Ligeti’s piece was composed for the city of Hamburg’s celebrations of Brahms’ 150th birthday and bears the title Hommage à Brahms.
The «Quatre petites pièces pour piano, violon et cor» by Koechlin, although only short, is a nonetheless extremely delicate and in the best sense of the expression romantic-impressionistic piece of music.
What makes this recording so extraordinary is the association of the natural horn as an old instrument and the valve horn as a modern one. The mastery of both instruments by one and the same musician is a rare occurrence indeed.