Brahms – Selected works (Valentina Lisitsa)

Ukrainian classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa performs selected works from Johannes Brahms. Recorded on March 1, 2015 at Schaubühne Lindenfels, Leipzig.

Programme

With starting times in the video:

  1. 00:08 Intermezzo Op. 76 #7 La minor (1)
  2. 02:29 Intermezzo Op. 116 #2 La minor (2)
  3. 05:30 Intermezzo Op. 116 # 4 Mi major
  4. 10:05 Intermezzo Op. 117 #1 Mi flat major (3)
  5. 14:12 Intermezzo Op. 117 #2 Si flat minor
  6. 18:13 Intermezzo Op. 118 #1 Do major (4)
  7. 19:15 Intermezzo Op. 118 #2 La major
  8. 23:58 Ballade Op. 118 #3 Sol minor
  9. 27:08 Romance Op. 118 #5 Fa major
  10. 30:21 Intermezzo Op. 118 #6 Mi flat minor
  11. 34:52 Intermezzo Op. 119 #1 Si minor (5)
  12. 38:35 Intermezzo Op. 119 #2 Mi minor
  13. 42:58 Ballades Op. 10 #1 Re minor (6)

Notes

  1. Brahms mainly composed the eight Piano Pieces op. 76 in summer 1878 in the summer resort of Pörtschach at Lake Wörth. Theodor Billroth, a close friend, was enthusiastic about the new works: “These are magnificent pieces, beautiful and interesting to play. They lie so well under the hand for those who are a little used to Schumann’s and Chopin’s technique that it is a pleasure to practise them.”
  2. Of the twenty short piano pieces Brahms published as Opp. 116-119, fourteen are titled “Intermezzo.” He abandoned the term “Capriccio” after Op. 116. Brahms came to use the term intermezzo as a rubric under which he could file anything that was not especially whimsical or fiery. This set of miniatures, Op. 116, sometimes called Seven Fantasies, was written by Brahms in 1892.
  3. The 3 Intermezzi Op. 117 were composed in 1892 and are among the best-loved and most popular of Brahms’ autumnal late piano output. On a smaller and more intimate scale than the surrounding sets of Op. 116, Op. 118 and Op. 119, the composer described these pieces as “lullabies to my sorrows”.
  4. The Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118, are some of the most beloved items that the composer Johannes Brahms wrote for the solo instrument. Completed in 1893 and dedicated to Clara Schumann, the collection was the second to last composition to be published during Brahms’ lifetime. It was also his second to last work composed for piano solo. Like Brahms’ other late keyboard works, Op. 118 is overall more introspective than his earlier piano pieces, which tend to be more virtuosic in character. The six pieces are:
    1. Intermezzo in A minor. Allegro non assai, ma molto appassionato
    2. Intermezzo in A major. Andante teneramente
    3. Ballade in G minor. Allegro energico
    4. Intermezzo in F minor. Allegretto un poco agitato
    5. Romanze in F major. Andante
    6. Intermezzo in E flat minor. Andante, largo e mesto
  5. The Four Pieces for Piano (German: ‘Klavierstücke’) Op. 119, are four character pieces for piano composed by Johannes Brahms in 1893. The collection is the last composition for solo piano by Brahms. Together with the six pieces from Op. 118, Op. 119 was premiered in London in January 1894.
  6. The Ballades, Op. 10 are lyrical piano pieces written by Johannes Brahms during his youth. They were dated 1854 and were dedicated to his friend Julius Otto Grimm. Their composition coincided with the beginning of the composer’s lifelong affection for Clara Schumann, the wife of Robert Schumann, who was helping Brahms launch his career. Frédéric Chopin had written the last of his famous ballades only 12 years earlier, but Brahms approached the genre differently from Chopin, choosing to take its origin in narrative poetry more literally.[1]Brahms’s ballades are arranged in two pairs of two, the members of each pair being in parallel keys. The first ballade was inspired by a Scottish poem “Edward” found in a collection Stimmen der Völker in ihren Liedern compiled by Johann Gottfried Herder. It is also one of the best examples of Brahms’s bardic or Ossianic style; its open fifths, octaves, and simple triadic harmonies are supposed to evoke the sense of a mythological past.
    1. No. 1 in D minor. Andante
    2. No. 2 in D major. Andante
    3. No. 3 in B minor. Intermezzo. Allegro
    4. No. 4 in B major. Andante con moto

Sources

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