Wednesday Music: Horn Trio By Brahms

I’ve only featured music by Johannes Brahms once during my Wednesday Music series, which is a shame. He was a very good composer and is very highly regarded.

This weekend, while looking up Arthur Grumiaux on the internet (yes, I randomly research violinists on Saturday nights), I stumbled across a forum post mentioning a Horn Trio by Brahms. I listened to it, loved it, and so that’s today’s piece: Horn Trio, Op. 40 by Johannes Brahms. Here’s a bit about it.

  • This piece is written for violin, piano, and natural horn. Natural just means the horn doesn’t have valves the way horns today do. However, most of the recordings I’ve seen when I searched have a regular horn, not a natural one. Natural horn is archaic and difficult to play, from what I can determine. I’m not a hornist, though, so correct me if I’m wrong.
  • Brahms claimed the theme of the first movement (there are four total) came to him while he was walking through the woods.
  • The order of the movements goes slow, fast, slow, fast. This isn’t typical for classical practice. Maybe Brahms just wanted to be a bit rebellious!

I had trouble finding a video of this piece. There aren’t many options out there aside from this one. Unfortunately, Daniel Barenboim is the pianist in another one I found and I flatly refuse to embed anything with him playing or conducting. (I refuse to buy any recording he has, too.) So we’ll just have to go with this one, which is perfectly respectable.

Or click here to see on YouTube.