When i begin to reference my own web site; that will be the day where I’ve truly Made It.
That day has come!
Recently I was haunted by a memory of my glorious Classical D.J. days in Castlemaine, Victoria; and how there was a piece that I featured and pontificated about, but couldn’t remember what the piece was.
It involves my love of super slow piano riffs: The silence between the notes (*when done by a Master like Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin … or in this case Brahms)
Just today I came upon this posting on my site; of a piece by Brahms, with some super duper slow piano, and great cello in the bargain. And then I remembered that this is the piece I featured on the radio show.
A musician friend visited my web site and listened to the second movement of Beethoven’s piano sonata number 8 (the Pathetique) played by Wilhelm Kempff, who was particularly well known for his Beethoven interpretations. My friend then sent me a link to the same piece played by Radu Lupu. Incredible difference! The Kempff version runs 4:56 while Lupu’s goes 7:05! Have a listen to Kempff first, and then the slower, poetic and beatific version by Lupu.
Beethoven piano sonata 8 / 2nd movement by Kempff
After reading the article below and a few others about Radu I began seeking his music out and I’m now a real ‘fan.’ I was amazed that I hadn’t found him before, during my lengthy and exhaustive searches and downloads, for the great pianist of the 20th century. Unfortunately it so far appears that his recorded catalog is fairly small. After the link there are a few more examples of how ‘Slow is better’! Exquisite Brahms.
I was put off a bit by Brahms during my initial ‘musical education’ because of some bombastic riffs I’d encountered. Over the past weeks I’ve been obsessing on his music. Listening to a lot and reading commentary/critiques. Learning about his life and musical influences. (*note: there is now a Long Playing Brahms)
In this, the second movement of his third piano sonata, I think Brahms is inviting us to drift away. Perhaps he felt like this when he smoked his cigar and watched the sun set.
02 – Piano Sonata No.3 in F min, Op.5 – Andante espressivo
Afterthought: For those of you who might not know … Brahms was a cigar smoker. I’ll just betcha this was one of his smoking tunes!
I was satisfied with the first version of this piece. (Brahms violin concerto in D major/allegro giocoso) It moved me – until I received this comment from someone who “knows”!
Taneyev commented: I think that the violinist nor the conductor understand what “allegro giocoso” means. The tempo is too slow and to me, boring.
All that time I was listening to, and satisfied with, a rendition that is slow and boring. It was a great lesson in carefully picking the right soloist, orchestra and conductor. So I searched until I found what this piece probably should sound like. The second version (03_) is violinist David Oistrakh with the USSR Radio Large Symphony Orchestra. What a difference! NOTE: This crummy version originally appeared in a post titled, “My Mommy’s Favourite” which I’ve since deleted … because it wasn’t actually her favourite piece of music! See the Post: “Correction to my Mommy’s Favourite”
Brahms violin concerto in D major / allegro giocoso
03_Third Movement Allegro giocoso ma non troppo vivace
Brahms Intermezzo in C major, op. 119 no. 3 just for fun! I’ll bet Brahms had fun composing it, and the pianist playing it
brahms intermezzo in c major op 119 no 3
* AFTERWORD: This post has become very interesting as a result of Taneyev’s comment below! I’ve learned so much from his astute comments. The most important lesson so far has been not to put on the site the first rendition of a piece that I hear: But rather to listen to as least several and try to get a sense of what the composer might have really intended. Or … to go with an Artist who is known to specialise in interpreting the particular composer. I hope you find this piece interesting enough to read the comments (click on comments above – just under the Post title), listen to all the versions here … and maybe even come back with “THE ANSWER” (that is: What is closest to Brahm’s original score?)
My brother claims I never asked him what our mother’s favourite was! (*see comments on the piece above) But I think I did ask him and my subconscious played a trick on me – because I like the movement from the violin concerto much more than this. Anyway there’s plenty of music to enjoy here in the three movements. It was the last piece that Brahms wrote for orchestra… and really was My Mommy’s Favourite!
Brahms Double Concerto for violin and cello. First, second and third movements.