Hommage à Brahms

An illuminating programme that really takes the listener on a spiritual journey.  From the joyous chirrups of the violin in one of Beethoven’s most famous works to the poignant, heavenly stillness of the end of Ligeti’s masterful horn trio.  Ligeti’s inspiration was not the hunting calls and folk tunes in the outer movements of Brahms‘ horn trio, but the second movement, a deeply moving elegy to the memory of his mother.

The Guardian said of a recent performance of this programme at the Southbank Centre:

“The [Ligeti] trio is intriguingly subtitled “Homage to Brahms”. And, though there is nothing nostalgic or anecdotal about Ligeti’s music, it’s still fascinating to hear it programmed alongside Brahms’s own Horn Trio Op 40, as it was in this recital by three members of Endymion – horn player Stephen Stirling, violinist Krysia Osostowicz and pianist Michael Dussek. The two works follow four-movement plans, and a mood of melancholy pervades both. Ligeti’s final adagio is a lament that eventually evaporates in ominous bass notes and fragmentary themes; Brahms places his great emotional outpouring third, before the bucolic finale. Both are haunted, too, by the sound of the natural horn, for which Brahms originally wrote his work (though Stirling sensibly played it on a modern valved instrument), and whose harmonics give a special tang to Ligeti’s harmonies.

‘The Endymion performances had a wonderful assurance about them, technical and musical, as if pairing these two distinctive masterpieces was the most natural thing in the world.”

Beethoven – Violin sonata no. 5 in F major, “Spring Sonata”, Op.24
Ligeti – Trio for horn, violin and piano, ‘Hommage à Brahms’,
Brahms – Trio for horn, violin and piano in E flat major, Op.40

Total time: 81 minutes, 3 players.