anniversaries November 24
Mozart is made neither of porcelain, nor of marble, nor of sugar. The cute Mozart, the perfumed Mozart, the permanently ecstatic Mozart, the 'touch-me-not' Mozart, the sentimentally bloated Mozart must all be avoided. There should be some slight doubt, too, about a Mozart who is incessantly 'poetic'. 'Poetic' players may find themselves sitting in a hothouse in which no fresh air can enter; you want to come and open the windows. Let poetry be the spice, not the main course. Alfred Brendel

Brahms, Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101

April 3rd, 2016

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897

Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, Op. 101 (1886)

In his excellent, comprehensive survey of the piano trio, Professor Basil Smallman summarizes the contribution of Brahms: “With the C major and C minor trios Brahms brought the genre, in its classical-romantic forms, to a splendid culmination in the late nineteenth century. Many successors and imitators sought to achieve a comparable excellence in their works, but none showed the same capacity for combining profuse melodic invention with a seemingly effortless mastery of technique.” It is likely that the ever self-critical and circumspect Brahms destroyed or withheld from publication numerous trios, but officially, he published three for the standard ensemble of violin, cello and piano. The first, the endearing Op.8 in B Major, was published in 1854, but Brahms famously revised it decades later after completing the pair of mature trios of which Smallman speaks. Brahms composed his final Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 101 in the summer of 1886 when, at the peak of his powers, he produced an astonishing clutch of works including a cello sonata, two violin sonatas and some songs. Clara Schumann, whom Brahms frequently consulted for her keen musical assessments, left a revealing note in her diary concerning the scherzo: “No other work of Johannes has so entirely transported me; so tender is the flow of the second movement which is wonderfully poetic. I am happier tonight than I have been for a long time.” « more »

Exploring the String Quartet—The First 250 Years

Exploring the String QuartetSince its birth around 1760, the string quartet has maintained a vital and profound hold on composers, players and listeners: it has been the vehicle par excellence for a rich continuum of some of the finest music composed throughout the last 250 years. Across time, nationality, and centuries of changing style, the string quartet has formed the backbone of small ensemble chamber music with a rich lore. Music for the string quartet consistently features lyrical beauty, complex harmony, intense passion, powerful rhythm and elegant formal design. From the most intimate personal expression to the most brilliant virtuosity, from the ancient and otherworldly to edgy grooves of the present day, the string quartet appears to be an infinitely flexible ensemble engaging great composers and performers in one of the richest living traditions of music in all of history. For many, if not most, however, it a rarely encountered “hidden” genre, while historically, culturally, musically, for others, it is the mother lode. Take some time to discover this stunning genre, the heart of the matter. Explore

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earsense celebrates and explores how music makes "sense" with a focus on the extraordinary genre of chamber music. The centerpiece of earsense is a comprehensive database of chamber music composers, works, events and related media.


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