This Trio’s unusual scoring for horn, violin and piano prompted speculation early on about a possible background to it that had no connection with music. Brahms’s biographer Max Kalbeck saw in it a lament for the composer’s mother, recently deceased, to whom he had supposedly played folk songs on the horn in his childhood. There is no doubt that Brahms loved the sound of the natural horn, and bestowed several of his most inspired melodies on the instrument. Horn players justifiably adore this Trio op. 40, and this Henle Urtext edition now offers an optimal basis for studying and performing this masterpiece.
This edition follows the musical text of the New Brahms Complete Edition and thus guarantees the greatest fidelity to the sources and reflects the current state of research. The pianist Klaus Schilde has added helpful fingerings to the piano part. Extra parts are also provided for the alternative scoring authorised by Brahms (with viola or cello instead of horn).