Elizabeth Reed Smith, violin
Stephen Lawson, horn
Henning Vauth, piano
Although Johannes Brahms spent much of his professional life from age 29 in Vienna, Austria he was born in Hamburg, Germany, and received his musical training there. His hometown still celebrates his music and accomplishments by supporting a Johannes Brahms Museum.
Brahms composed his third Violin Sonata during two vacations on Lake Thun in Switzerland. In 1886 he had just finished his Fourth Symphony; after beginning the sonata he put it aside to compose the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, complaining that writing for stringed instruments should be left to "someone who understands fiddles better than I." But he returned to the sonata and completed it in 1888. It was dedicated to his friend the conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow. The Hungarian violinist Jenö Hubay gave the first performance with Brahms at the piano.
The sonata differs from the first two sonatas in its four-movement design, its lean and concise structure and its dramatic, virtuosic nature.
The Horn Trio was conceived in 1865 during a vacation to Baden-Baden as a memorial to Brahms' recently deceased mother, Christiane. The third movement quotes a folksong, "Dort in den Weiden steht ein Haus," which Brahms had learned from his mother.
Brahms' father was a professional horn player, and Brahms learned horn as a boy. He was not a fan of the new valve horn, probably because it had not yet been perfected, and even referred to it as the "brass viola." Brahms wrote the Trio for the sonority of the natural horn.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen_lawson/10/