January 27, 2013 Concert Program
Two Rhapsodies Op. 79, B minor & G minor Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Kreisleriana Op. 16 Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Sonata in B minor Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
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The Rhapsodies, Op. 79, for piano were written by Johannes Brahms in 1879 during his summer stay in Pörtschach, when he had reached the maturity of his career. They were inscribed to his friend, the musician and composer Elisabeth von Herzogenberg. At the suggestion of the dedicatee, Brahms reluctantly renamed the sophisticated compositions from “klavierstücke” (piano pieces) to “rhapsodies”.
In Kreisleriana, Schumann pays tribute to the novelist ETA Hoffmann and his most famous literary creation, Kapellmeister Kreisler; a musician in perpetual emotional turmoil, with an artistic soul that could never make peace with the Philistine society he had to serve. Hoffman was one of the towering figures of the German Romantic movement and his writings were enormously influential. Along with Schumann’s Kreisleriana, his fiction provided the source for Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker; Delibes’s Coppelia and Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann.
Franz Liszt completed the composition of the B Minor sonata in 1853. At this point in his life, Liszt’s career as a traveling virtuoso had almost entirely subsided, and he was living a comfortable lifestyle, composing, and occasionally performing, entirely by choice rather than necessity. The sonata was dedicated to Robert Schumann, in return for Schumann’s dedication of his Fantasie in C, Op. 17 (1836) to Liszt.