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Horn Trio: Re-birth

for horn in F, violin and piano

Year:  2022   ·  Duration:  20m

Year:  2022
Duration:  20m

Composer:   Anthony Ritchie

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Horn Trio: Re-birth was composed for Donald Armstrong (violin), Samuel Jacobs (horn) and Jian Liu (piano) for a tour of concerts in 2023. The work is in three movements and explores the idea of renewal following personal crisis. The subtitles of the movements are:

I – Unfolding
II – Abyss
III – Child

This work was inspired by the famous Brahms Horn Trio, and delves into themes of childhood and experience. Brahms’ trio was written in memory of his mother, and quotes a folksong from his childhood. Horn Trio: Re-Birth also reflects on early experiences, adult realities and celebrates the boundless energy and enthusiasm of children. The first movement is a reflection on the way life unfolds as a child and the progression to adulthood. A simple, naïve melody on horn at the start provides most of the material for the movement. The slow introduction gradually accelerates into an upbeat ‘allegro’, which features two contrasting ideas. Towards the end of the movement, the energy dissipates, providing a mood change that leads into the second movement. By contrast, the second movement 'Abyss', has a smoky darkness and reflects on illness and death; the composer had been recovering from a life-threatening illness at the time of composition.

The third movement, ‘Child’, references the famous chorus from Handel’s Messiah, ‘For unto us a child is born’, as a symbol of joy and energy. The composer’s mother, Anita Ritchie (nee Proctor), was a soprano who frequently performed the solo role in Messiah. The music takes just one phrase from the chorus and weaves many variations on it.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Donald Armstrong

Dedication note

Dedicated to Martin Lodge

Contents note

I – Unfolding
II – Abyss
III – Child