Blue Ridge Horn Trio

Performed by the 4-Leaf Horn Trio
Andrew Fierova, horn; Caeli Smith, violin and Amy Fierova Deal, piano

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I. Andante:

II. Pastoral:

III. Allegro:

Blue Ridge Horn Trio was inspired by the Brahms Horn Trio. Brahms conceived of the first movement theme of his trio while on a walk in the Black Forest during the summer of 1865 – he was inspired by the natural world around him. I composed this piece at the Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where I also found inspiration from nature. A salient feature of Brahms’s trio is the use of open sonorities that imitate the hunting calls of the horn. I also prominently feature these sounds in my work, including the opening solo horn passage in the first movement. These sonorities also evoke an earthy quality typical in folk music. I embraced this sound world with the use of open strings in the violin and modal harmonies in the piano. When listening to Brahms’s trio, I am particularly drawn to the achingly beautiful third movement, which was likely Brahms’s reaction to the death of his mother. You will hear clear echoes of motives from his Adagio Mesto in the slow Pastoral middle movement of my work. The last movement (Allegro) reworks material from the first two movements in a fast and driving fashion and includes a sparse, timbrally contrasting middle section before the final restatement of each of the primary themes. Like Brahms’s trio, there is a sense of joy that, not without struggle, overcomes the melancholy mood with a triumphant flourish at the end.

Watch the complete performance here!