A concert of intimate, even cosy, music making with a small group of singers and two pianists and music by Brahms, Schubert and Elgar.
Brahms’s Liebeslieder (Lovesong) Waltzes capitalised upon two musical trends of the 1800s: dances to be played by piano duet (that is, one piano and two players) and vocal pieces on the subject of love. In both cases, the pieces were to be light and unpretentious, designed for entertainment at casual social occasions. Brahms had been working on an edition of 20 Ländler by Schubert and it is easy to see Schubert’s influence on these dances which are really ländler rather than waltzes.
Elgar’s Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands also dance. They are choral settings of poems written by the composer’s wife, Alice, following holidays spent by the couple on the Bavarian Alps. Elgar set the verses in the “…spirit in which it was intended, enhancing the folk-inspired texts with light music of colour, confidence and reflecting, perhaps, the greatest gift of these Bavarian holidays, genuine and unalloyed happiness.”
As a contrast to these engaging and light-hearted pieces, we will be singing a short piece by Brahms of a more reflective nature: his Geistlicher Lied (Sacred Song), one of several exercises in counterpoint that Brahms exchanged with the violinist Josef Joachim. This was the only one to be published.
The Fantasie in F minor is Schubert’s most often performed piano duet and is considered one of his great masterpieces. It was written and first performed in the year of his death.