On Friday while listening to this episode of Performance Today, one particular work caught my attention, a recently discovered work by Johannes Brahms entitled Albumblatt or “album leaf.” Apparently I missed this news when it came out in April of last year, but in short the work is musically and historically significant for a couple of reasons. First, the work is a complete piece, not a sketch, and was discovered in an album which belonged to Arnold Wehner, a well known music director from the mid 19th century. Second – and of particular interest to horn players – is that the theme in Albumblatt is the same as the trio melody from the second movement of Brahms’s Trio, Op. 40 for piano, violin, and horn. According to this article on Pianostreet.com, musicologists believe Brahms composed Albumblatt in 1853, and reused the melody in the Op. 40 trio 12 years later. There has been some controversy regarding who actually discovered this “new” work, and the Pianostreet.com article provides some enlightening details. The article also includes a back-to-back comparison of both the solo piano and trio versions. Visit the above link for those YouTube videos, or check out the links below. I feel a bit sheepish about reposting information that’s already been out there for a while, but this was just too good not to pass along. Enjoy!
András Schiff plays “Albumblatt” in A minor by Johannes Brahms (linked from http://www.pianostreet.com)
The same theme used in Brahms’s Trio, Op. 40 (linked from http://www.pianostreet.com; performers are Zora Slokar, Horn; Denes Varjon, Piano; and Tamas Major, Violin)
Also, here’s a short video by BBC Radio with some background informati0n as well as the above mentioned performance by András Schiff.