Coming up in Philly music: A haunting horn and a runaway train

Hear composer Dmitri Tymoczko’s 'Eggman Variations' on August 3 at Curtis. (Photo by Peter Murphy, via

The pièce de résistance at the next Curtis Summerfest faculty recital will be one of my personal favorites: Brahms’s trio for horn, violin, and piano. Brahms created a haunting, deeply emotional work when he substituted the horn for the cello in the standard cello, violin, and piano combination. The other pieces on the menu are less familiar, but they should be showcases for most of the instrumentalists on the faculty. Saint-Saëns’s Caprice sur des airs Danois et Russes is a lively, colorful quartet for flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano. It’s based on Russian and Danish themes because it was dedicated to the Russian Tsarina, who started life as a Danish princess.

Dmitri Tymoczko’s Eggman Variations is a quintet for piano and string quartet that starts with a first movement influenced by Asian music. The second movement, according to the composer, “layers rock clichés on top of one another,” and the third is supposed to make you “feel like you’re running after a train that is always just beyond your reach.”

The horn artisan will be Adam Unsworth, who’s spent several years with the Detroit and Philadelphia Orchestras. The other performers include several figures familiar to Philadelphia music aficionados: oboist Katherine Needleman, flutist Mimi Stillman, cellist Rebecca Harris, and the program director for Summerfest, Curtis pianist Amy Yang.

The Curtis Institute of Music will present its next Summerfest faculty recital on August 3 at 7pm at the Curtis Institute of Music’s Field Concert Hall, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $25 and they’re available online and at 215-893-7902.

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