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Chatter Sunday to play Abrahamsen’s ‘6 Pieces’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Chatter Sunday will bid farewell to 2018 through the haunting chill of contemporary Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen.

The musicians will perform Brahms’ Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano and Abrahamsen’s “6 Pieces” at the Las Puertas Event Center.

Horn player Nathan Ukens.

Written in 1984, Abrahamsen penned “6 Pieces” as a companion piece for the Danish premiere of Hungarian composer György Sándor Ligeti’s Horn Trio. The sound design of Stanley Kubrick’s films, particularly the music of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” drew from Ligeti’s work.

“It’s a very different energy,” horn player Nathan Ukens said in a telephone interview from Sarasota, Fla., where he plays French horn for the Sarasota Orchestra. “It’s like three people are trying to share one brain and create something that stands on its own.”

To classical music enthusiasts, the Brahms Trio is considered the greatest horn work, partly because few composers wrote for the instrument.

“Besides Brahms, Mozart is about the only composer who wrote for horns,” Ukens said.

The composer’s father made his son learn three instruments as a child: violin, piano and horn. As a result, the younger Brahms could play the early natural horn without valves.

“It was just a length of tubing,” Ukens said. “The length determined the pitches.” Ukens will play a valved horn at the concert.

“The Horn Trio was written about the same time as Brahms’ mother’s death,” he said. “It has an elegiac tone to it.”

The slow first movement is a reflection of the composer’s childhood.

“At this time, all German composers have a very romantic, pastoral view of their childhood,” Ukens said. “It’s all pastoral; it’s all in the forest.”

The musicians include Ukens on horn, David Felberg on violin and Judith Gordon on piano.