Radio 3 presents Brahms Experience in association with St George's Bristol

This week's performances and broadcasts will, I hope, reveal another Brahms: a visionary pusher of expressive boundaries in his chamber music, a symbolist dreamer in his late piano music and choral works, a multi-dimensional virtuoso of time and space in his orchestral works.Radio 3 presenter Tom Service
Date: 06.06.2014     Last updated: 06.06.2014 at 10.41
Category: Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 returns for the third year to St George's Bristol for a week of concerts and Essays reappraising the music and life of Johannes Brahms. Four concerts from St. George’s Bristol and one from Colston Hall will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, while a series of Essays exploring Brahms’ life will add extra content to the music that precedes them.

Concerts throughout the week include a concert of Brahms and his contemporaries by violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Sebastian Knauer, Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, his rousing Requiem performed by the BBC Singers, and a programme of Brahms alongside Bach and Beethoven, two composers he revered, performed by pianist Stephen Kovacevich.

As well as the live concerts, audiences will have the chance to go behind the microphone and meet the producers and engineers who plan and record the concerts, including Radio 3 presenter Tom Service and Editor Jessica Isaacs to find out more about the planning of the Brahms Experience and ask questions about Radio 3.

Every night throughout the week pianist Natasha Loges and writer Lesley Chamberlain will talk about Brahms' life and the wider world in which he lived. They’ll show how Brahms' career intersected with German society, European art and with the politics, personalities and ideas of the age. The talks will be recorded for broadcast on The Essay on BBC Radio 3 between 6-10 October, from 10.45pm.

Radio 3 presenter Tom Service introduces Radio 3's Brahms Experience: 

"Poor old Brahms... It's weird to feel sorry for a composer as celebrated and performed as any of the greats, whose works - and whose preternaturally effulgent beard - are as familiar as anything in classical music.

"But I do. That familiarity is precisely the problem. What do we hear when we hear Brahms' music? The acme of solid - even rather stolid - 19th century classicism? The comforting, perfected endpoint of a German tradition that goes back to Bach and Schutz? Or a 'leviathan maunderer' (George Bernard Shaw's phrase) whose earnestness and self-conscious historicism mean that his music is essentially limited in what it's trying to say?

"This week's performances and broadcasts will, I hope, reveal another Brahms: a visionary pusher of expressive boundaries in his chamber music, a symbolist dreamer in his late piano music and choral works, a multi-dimensional virtuoso of time and space in his orchestral works. And above all: we're going behind the beard to the seething passions of the man it so expertly disguised. That intensity of feeling, that pain and joy is all there in the music - we just have to hear it."

BBC Radio 3's Brahms Experience - broadcast on Live in Concert

Monday 6 October, 7:30pm

St George's Bristol

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

 

Skampa Quartet with Robert Plane - clarinet

 

Brahms - String Quartet No 2 in A minor Op 52 No2

Dvorak - String Quartet Op 96 'American'

Brahms - Clarinet Quintet in B minor Op 115 

Tuesday 7 October, 7:30pm

St George's Bristol

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

 

Daniel Hope - violin

Sebastian Knauer - piano

 

Brahms - Scherzo in C minor from the FAE Sonata

Schumann - Romanze

Brahms - Sonata for Violin and Piano No 2 in D minor Op 108

Mendelssohn - Two Lieder: Auf Flugeln des Gesanges; Hexenlied

Joachim - Romanze in C

Brahms - Sonata for Violin & Piano No 1 in G Op 78 

Wednesday 8 October, 7:30pm

Colston Hall

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

 

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Tadaaki Otaka - conductor

Veronika Eberle - violin

Andreas Brantelid - cello

 

Brahms

  • Academic Festival Overture
  • Double Concerto in A minor - Symphony No 1 in C minor 

Thursday 9 October, 7:30pm

St George's Bristol

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 

 

BBC Singers

Charles Owens and Katya Apekisheva - pianos

 

Brahms

  • Geistliches Lied Op 30
  • Haydn Variations Op 56
  • A German Requiem Op 45

(four hands/two-piano accompaniment) 

Friday 10 October, 7:30pm

St George's Bristol

Broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

 

Stephen Kovacevich - piano

 

Bach - Partita No 4

Brahms - Ballade Op 10 No 4

Brahms - Intermezzo in B minor Op 119

Brahms - Rhapsody in E flat Op 119 No 4

Brahms - Intermezzo in A Op 76 No 6; Intermezzo in A minor Op 76 No 7; Capriccio in D minor Op 117 No 7

Beethoven - Piano Sonata No 31 Op 110 A flat 

The Essay 

Dr Natasha Loges is Assistant Head of Programmes at the Royal College of Music and co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall: Between Private and Public Performance. 

Writer Lesley Chamberlain is a journalist, travel writer and historian of Russian and German culture and has published short stories and novels.

Monday 6 October, 10:45pm

Brahms Public and Private: An invitation into Brahms’ inner circle: music making at home, trusted friends, how he felt about concerts, the food he enjoyed and the women he flirted with. By Dr Natasha Loges. 

Tuesday 7 October, 10:45pm

Brahms and Nature: Brahms often walked in the parks around Vienna for inspiration. We join him for a creative ramble and set Brahms’ work in the climate of German ideas about nature. By Lesley Chamberlain. 

Wednesday 8 October, 10:45pm

Brahms and Germany: Brahms lived to see the tumultuous unification of Germany. We look at Brahms’ political opinions, his feud with Wagner and how his work became part of the great conversation about what it meant to be German. By Dr Natasha Loges. 

Thursday 9 October, 10:45pm

Brahms and Freud: Freud lived in Brahms’ Vienna, and nascent psychoanalysis flourished alongside the new musical ideas which Brahms helped create.  They may have met in Vienna but they certainly do here – putting Brahms on Freud’s couch, looking into his subconscious and the sources of some of his intensely romantic music. By Lesley Chamberlain. 

Friday 10 October, 10:45pm

Brahms and the Future: Natasha Loges considers Brahms' posthumous reputation, his legacy, his thoughts about innovation, and his fascination with the latest technologies in train travel, recording and electricity.  

MC4