In orchestral Brass sections, the horn is certainly featured prominently. In addition, the instrument was frequently used by composers such as Richard Strauss, and Anton Bruckner.
On this new CD, we are able to hear several composers’ works that feature this instrument in chamber music format:
The title of this collection is ‘Heartfelt – Romantic Works for Horn’
Horn Trio in E flat major, Op. 40, with Mathieu van Bellen (violin)
Three Pieces in the Form of a Sonata for Horn and Piano
Auf dem Strom, D943, Op. post. 119, with Karin Strobos (mezzo)
Adagio and Allegro in A flat major, Op. 70, with Rob van de Laar (horn), and Thomas Beijer (piano).
The young Dutch horn player Rob van de Laar, Principal Horn of the Mozarteum Salzburg, has just been awarded the Dutch Music Prize, The Netherlands’ highest state accolade in classical music. He makes his solo recording debut with ‘Heartfelt’ on Challenge Classics, an SACD of Romantic music by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert and the little-known Austrian composer Karl Pilss.
The disc opens with two of the great pieces of the German Romanticism for Horn. Brahms’ Horn Trio was composed in 1865, during a peaceful summer at Clara Schumann’s house in the Black Forest. Schumann wrote his Adagio and Allegro in 1849, one of a series of miniatures for different solo instruments and piano that he composed that year in Dresden. Schumann was among the first to explore the expanded possibilities offered by the new valve horn.
Schubert wrote his song ‘Auf dem Strom’ in 1828, the final year of his short life, to a text by Ludwig Rellstab. It was composed for a concert, at the Vienna Musikverein, marking the first anniversary of the death of Ludwig van Beethoven on 26 March. Schubert, who was a great admirer of Beethoven, saw his opportunity to compose a special song as an ode to the master, adding a dazzling part for the French horn.
The Viennese composer Karl Pilss (1902-1979) is perhaps best known among brass players, having written concertos for trumpet, horn and bass trombone, as well as a number of works for brass ensemble. The influences of Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and his composition teacher Franz Schmidt can be clearly heard in his music. The ‘Tre pezzi in forma di sonata’ date from 1924.
Here is Rob van dear Laar in the Brahma Horn Trio: