Monday, October 1, 2012

Brahms Remedy

That’s what it says on my calendar, but to you all the event is the inaugural Concertmaster Recital at Remedy Coffee in the Old City, this coming Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00. Gabe Lefkowitz will be presenting an engaging trio of works by Ravel, Prokofiev and Brahms. Pianist Kevin Class will team with Gabe on all three works, and I will join for the Brahms.

Ravel’s Tzigane will open the concert. Tzigane starts with 4 minutes of solo gypsy violin amazingness, then turns into a colorful romp through Ravel’s rich compositional mind. I don’t know how they do it. Prokofiev’s Sonata is a delightful counterpoint to the Ravel; an expansive, eloquent work that sounds equally lovely played on either the violin or the flute. Each composer’s palette is diverse, and live, close-up chamber music like this most closely resembles the purpose for which their colors were intended.

Brahms’ first entry into the Piano Trio ring with an opus number is this B Major trio, op. 8, although a work attributed to him may have been written earlier. Strangely enough, this is the only work of Brahms to exist in two “builds.” The original 1854 monster was revised in 1891 (around the time his Clarinet Quintet was written- op. 114!) and that is by far the most frequently heard version. The Scherzo is largely untouched, as both the elder and younger Brahms seem to have found some common ground. B Major, or H dur as the Germans say, is a gnarly key on the cello. There are no open strings to rely on for a pitch center, thus the term “tonal region” comes into play. So although I would love to stay and chat, I must go and work on my sharpshooting. And I, for obvious reasons, shall be courteously abstaining from the coffee until after...

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