Anton Reicha’s Horn Trios, Op. 82

If my post from yesterday got you excited about horn quartets, today’s post is sure to get you interested in horn trios.  Although the repertoire for horn trio is much more limited than horn quartet, we do have a real jewel in Anton Reicha’s (1770-1836) 24 Horn Trios, Op. 82.  They are probably among the earliest original works for three horns, and are a delight to perform.  Reicha was a direct contemporary of Beethoven, and the two were apparently friends.  Although Reicha’s music in general is probably less adventurous than Beethoven’s, the trios are both technically challenging and musically satisfying.  They can be played in various transpositions, although the keys of F and E-flat are probably the most common.  I have played them a number of times with the original instrumentation, but have also performed them with a brass trio (trumpet, horn, trombone).  Although the uniformity of timbre is missing from the brass trio version, it does allow for some interesting color and articulation variations. If you want to check them out, a score and complete set of parts are available on IMSLP. There are also some great recordings out there, including this one featuring the Tylsar brothers, as well as this one with the Deutsche Naturhorn Soloisten.  However, one recording you should definitely hear is available on the IHS’s podcast page.  This recording is from the 1971 “Third Annual French Horn Workshop,” and is part of a continuing series featuring live performances from that symposium.  The performers are Dale Clevenger, Michael Höltzel and David Krehbiel.  They play the trios brilliantly, as you would expect, but there is also a special treat at the end of their performance that you don’t want to miss!

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