BRAHMS, SCHUMANN & REINECKE = BRAHMS: Horn Trio Op. 40; Schumann – Adagio and Allegro; REINECKE: Trio in B-flat – Jasper de Waal, horn & trio – Channel Classics

BRAHMS, SCHUMANN & REINECKE = BRAHMS: Horn Trio Op. 40; Schumann – Adagio and Allegro; REINECKE: Trio in B-flat – Jasper de Waal, horn/ Candida Thompson, v./ Hans Colbers, clar./  Frank van de Laar, piano – Channel Classics multichannel SACD CCS SA 34014, TT: 64:56 (4/8/14) [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

Channel Classics offers an excellent multi-channel disc featuring horn player Jasper de Waal. De Waal is the principal hornist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (2004-2012), he is also a world class soloist, giving masterclasses and playing concertos and recitals around the world. As a guest teacher, Jasper de Waal is affiliated with the Amsterdam Conservatory, the Royal Conservatory The Hague and the Fontys Academy in Tilburg.

This disc features the music of Brahms, Schumann and Reinecke. The performances are uniformly excellent, and Channel Classics reputation is all about the recorded sound, which is exemplary here.

While not a demo disc in the traditional sense, the recording has a wide soundstage with a laid back microphone arrangement that captures the hall without excessive spotlighting of the instruments. This is a natural recording in every way, and the listening position is rendered quite a distance from the soloists. I think this approach fits the music very well and one can hear the instruments’ delicate decay in the surround channels.

The Brahms Horn Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 40 dates from 1865, and commemorates the passing of Brahms mother who died earlier that year. The work is based on an earlier unpublished work.

The Schumann Adagio and Allegro in A-flat major for Horn and Piano was written in 1849, a year many musicologists identify as the composers most productive. Later, Brahms re-wrote the same piece for Cello and Piano. Extremely romantic, it’s one of the composers most evocative and emotional works.

The Carl Reinecke Trio in B-flat Major was written late in the composers life just before his 82nd birthday. Today, Reinecke is all but forgotten, but his music is most interesting. In his life he was a renowned pianist and teacher, and his students included Grieg, Bruch and Janacek.

As mentioned, this disc is not a sonic blockbuster in the traditional sense, but the recording is excellent. The Brahms and Schumann were familiar to me, the Reinecke was a worthwhile discovery.

—Mel Martin

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