In his performance, John Barrows concentrates upon bringing out the compositional layout of the work, which largely dispenses with a display of virtuosic fireworks. The sonorous tonal character of the horn and its range of expression – from lyrical to mournful – are shown off to great effect. In the rapid Finale, however, Barrows pays tribute to the various playing techniques offered by this aristocratic instrument. With blaring staccatos and organ-like bass notes, he goads his fellow musicians to join him in a musical hunt, as it were, and they take up his challenge with thrilling effect.
Well-chosen to complement the carefree Horn Sonata, the B side contains a light and airy performance of the Violin Sonata No. 2 op. 100 which clearly reflects Brahms’s mature compositional style.
Horn Trio in E flat major, Opus 40 (for violin, horn, and piano)
Sonata No.2 in A major, Opus 100 (for piano and violin)