Double Concerto (Brahms)
|by Johannes Brahms|
|Performed||18 October 1887 Cologne:|
The Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102, by Johannes Brahms is a concerto for violin, cello and orchestra. The orchestra consists of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings.
Origin of the work
The Double Concerto was Brahms' final work for orchestra. It was composed in the summer of 1887, and first performed on 18 October of that year in the Gürzenich in Cologne, Germany. Brahms approached the project with anxiety over writing for instruments that were not his own. He wrote it for the cellist Robert Hausmann, a frequent chamber music collaborator, and his old but estranged friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. The concerto was, in part, a gesture of reconciliation towards Joachim, after their long friendship had ruptured following Joachim's divorce from his wife Amalie. (Brahms had sided with Amalie in the dispute.)
The concerto makes use of the musical motif A–E–F, a permutation of F–A–E, which stood for a personal motto of Joachim, Frei aber einsam ("free but lonely"). Thirty-four years earlier, Brahms had been involved in a collaborative work using the F-A-E motif in tribute to Joachim: the F-A-E Sonata of 1853.
|Performed by Julia Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra under Yakov Kreizberg|
|III. Vivace non troppo|
The composition consists of three movements in the fast–slow–fast pattern typical of classical instrumental concerti:
Performance and reception
Joachim and Hausmann performed the concerto, with Brahms at the podium, several times in its initial 1887–88 season, and Brahms gave the manuscript to Joachim, with the inscription "To him for whom it was written." Clara Schumann reacted unfavourably to the concerto, considering the work "not brilliant for the instruments". Richard Specht also thought critically of the concerto, describing it as "one of Brahms' most inapproachable and joyless compositions". Brahms had sketched a second concerto for violin and cello but destroyed his notes in the wake of its cold reception. Later critics have warmed to it: Donald Tovey wrote of the concerto as having "vast and sweeping humour". Its performance requires two brilliant and equally matched soloists.
Richard Cohn has included the first movement of this concerto in his discussions of triadic progressions from a Neo-Riemannian perspective. Cohn has also analysed such progressions mathematically. Cohn notes several progressions that divide the octave equally into three parts, and which can be analyzed using the triadic transformations proposed by Hugo Riemann.
- Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals, Orquestra Pau Casals cond. Alfred Cortot (1929).
- Jascha Heifetz and Emanuel Feuermann, Philadelphia Orchestra cond. Eugene Ormandy (1939).
- Adolf Busch and Herman Busch, French National Radio Orchestra cond. Paul Kletzki (live Strasbourg 1949).
- Georg Kulenkampff and Enrico Mainardi, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande cond. Carl Schuricht (1947).
- Willi Boskovsky and Emanuel Brabec, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Wilhelm Furtwängler (1950 live recording).
- Nathan Milstein and Gregor Piatigorsky, Philadelphia Robin Hood Dell Orchestra cond. Fritz Reiner (1951).
- Jean Fournier and Antonio Janigro, Vienna State Opera Orchestra cond. Hermann Scherchen (1952).
- Gioconda de Vito and Amadeo Baldovino, Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Rudolf Schwarz (1952).
- David Oistrakh and Pierre Fournier, Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Alceo Galliera (1956).
- Isaac Stern and Leonard Rose, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York cond. Bruno Walter (1956).
- Zino Francescatti and Samuel Mayes, Boston Symphony Orchestra cond. Charles Munch (live rec. April 1956)
- Zino Francescatti and Pierre Fournier, Columbia Symphony Orchestra cond. Bruno Walter (1960).
- Zino Francescatti and Pierre Fournier, BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. Sir Malcolm Sargent (date of recording: 30/08/1955).
- Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Enrico Mainardi, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Karl Böhm (date of recording: 08/25/1957).
- Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky, RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra cond. Alfred Wallenstein (1961).
- Salvatore Accardo and Siegfried Palm, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RTV Italiana cond Bruno Maderna (live 1961 Milan).
- Wolfgang Schneiderhan and János Starker, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Ferenc Fricsay (1962).
- Alfredo Campoli and André Navarra, Hallé Orchestra cond. John Barbirolli (1963).
- Josef Suk and André Navarra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Karel Ančerl (c.1963).
- David Oistrakh and Mstislav Rostropovich, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Kirill Kondrashin (live 1963).
- David Oistrakh and Mstislav Rostropovich, Cleveland Orchestra cond. George Szell(1970).
- Christian Ferras and Paul Tortelier, Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Paul Kletzki (1964).
- Yehudi Menuhin and Maurice Gendron, London Symphony Orchestra cond. István Kertész (Bath Festival 1964).
- Yehudi Menuhin and Leslie Parnas, Casals Festival Orchestra cond. Pablo Casals (1969).
- Henryk Szeryng and János Starker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra cond. Bernard Haitink (1971).
- Yan Pascal Tortelier and Paul Tortelier, BBC Symphony Orchestra cond. John Pritchard (1974).
- Salvatore Accardo and Heinrich Schiff, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig cond. Kurt Masur (1979)
- Itzhak Perlman and Mstislav Rostropovich, Concertgebouw Orchestra, cond. Bernard Haitink(1980).
- Anne-Sophie Mutter and Antônio Meneses, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Herbert von Karajan (1983).
- Emmy Verhey and János Starker, Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (nl) cond. Arpad Joó (1983).
- Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Leonard Bernstein (1984).
- Yehudi Menuhin and Paul Tortelier, London Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Paavo Berglund (1984).
- Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Symphony Orchestra cond. Claudio Abbado (1988).
- Ilya Kaler and Maria Kliegel, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland cond. Andrew Constantine (1995).
- Gidon Kremer and Clemens Hagen, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra cond. Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1997).
- Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Symphony Orchestra cond. Daniel Barenboim (1997).
- Gil Shaham and Jian Wang, Berliner Philharmoniker cond. Claudio Abbado (2002).
- Julia Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Yakov Kreizberg (2007).
- Renaud Capuçon and Gautier Capuçon, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester cond. Myung-Whun Chung (2007).
- Vadim Repin and Truls Mørk, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra cond. Riccardo Chailly (2009).
- Antje Weithaas and Maximilian Hornung, NDR Radiophilharmonie cond. Andrew Manze (2019).
- Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra: program notes
- He disguised his reservations with joyless joking in his letter to Clara Schumann: "...I have had the amusing idea of writing a concerto for violin and cello. If it is at all successful it might give us some fun. You can well imagine the sort of pranks one might play in such a case," he wrote, adding "I ought to have handed on the idea to some who knows the violin better than I do." Litzmann, Schumann/Brahms Letters 8/1887, quoted by Jan Swafford, Johannes Brahms: a biography 1997:539.
- For Hausmann he had written the Second Cello Sonata the previous summer.
- "This concerto is a work of reconciliation— Joachim and Brahms have spoken to each other again for the first time in years", Clara Schumann noted in her journal after a rehearsal in Baden-Baden in September 1887.
- Schwartz, Boris (Autumn 1983). "Joseph Joachim and the Genesis of Brahms's Violin Concerto". The Musical Quarterly. LXIX (4): 503–526. doi:10.1093/mq/LXIX.4.503.
- Musgrave, Michael (July 1983). "Brahms's First Symphony: Thematic Coherence and Its Secret Origin". Music Analysis. Music Analysis, Vol. 2, No. 2. 2 (2): 117–133. doi:10.2307/854245. ISSN 0262-5245. JSTOR 854245.
- Wollenberg, Susan (February 1993). "Reviews of Books: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Konzerts: Festschrift Siegfried Kross zum 60. Geburtstag (eds. Reinmar Emans and Matthias Wendt". Music & Letters. 74 (1): 77–81. doi:10.1093/ml/74.1.77. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 735204.
- Stein, George P. (October 1971). "The Arts: Being through Meaning". Journal of Aesthetic Education. Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 5, No. 4. 5 (4): 99–113. doi:10.2307/3331623. ISSN 0021-8510. JSTOR 3331623.
- Cohn, Richard (March 1996). "Maximally Smooth Cycles, Hexatonic Systems, and the Analysis of Late-Romantic Triadic Progressions". Music Analysis. Music Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 1. 15 (1): 9–40. doi:10.2307/854168. ISSN 0262-5245. JSTOR 854168.
- Cohn, Richard (Spring 1997). "Neo-Riemannian Operations, Parsimonious Trichords, and Their Tonnetz Representations". Journal of Musical Theory. Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 41, No. 1. 41 (1): 1–66. doi:10.2307/843761. ISSN 0022-2909. JSTOR 843761.
- HMV DB1311-1314/Victor V-8208-8211.
- HMV/Victor 78rpm:Naxos CD
- Music and Arts MACD 108
- Decca 78rpm AK2025-2028: Archipel CD ARPCD 0301
- Cellist of the Barylli Quartet, Brabec was teacher of Nikolaus Harnoncourt at Vienna.
- Dynamic IDIS Hist. CD IDI 6554
- Naxos CD 8.111051
- Fournier and Janigro played together with Paul Badura-Skoda in a trio ensemble.
- Westminster LP WLP 5117.
- Student of Camillo Oblach's at the G.B. Martini School of Music, Bologna, Baldovino was cellist with the Trio Italiano d'Archi and the Trio di Trieste: see  here.
- HMV BLP 1028
- HMV/EMI SXLP 30185.
- Philips LP ABL 3139/3289.
- Samuel H. Mayes
- Music and Arts, West Hill Radio Archive WHRA 6017.
- Columbia ML 5493.
- BBC CD L4149 2.
- Schneiderhan succeeded Georg Kulenkampff as violin in the trio ensemble with Mainardi and Edwin Fischer after Kulenkampff died.
- Orfeo CD C 359941B.
- RCA LD(S)2513
- Palm was a pupil of Mainardi's, and a President of the European String Teachers' Association: see interview  here.
- Movimento Musica srl Milano (WEA Italiana) 01.017 33/30 DP
- DG 139126
- Vanguard SRV-136 SD.
- Supraphon LP SUA ST 50573.
- BBC CD L41972
- HMV ASD 3312
- Testament CD SBT 1337.
- BBC CD L4252 2
- Leslie Parnas
- Doremi CD DHR 7844
- Philips 6500 137
- BBC CD L42362.
- Philips 9500 623.
- HMV ASD 3905; EMI CDC 7 49486 2.
- DG 410 603-1.
- SEFD 5023 (Sefel Records)
- DG 410 031-1; DGG DVD 000983409.
- EMI EG 27 0268 1.
- CBS Masterworks Mk 42387.
- Teldec – 0630-13137-2.
- Teldec 0630-15870-2.
- CD DG 4695292.
- PTC 5186 066 (PentaTone Classics).
- Virgin Classics 00946 395147 2 4.
- CD DG 4777470.
- cpo 555 172-2.
- Double Concerto: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- History of the Double Concerto at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2009-07-06)
- Copyist's manuscript with composer's annotations, at The Juilliard Manuscript Collection at the Wayback Machine (archived 2010-12-05)
- Adaptation of the work as a Cello Concerto
- Gutmann, Peter (2010). "Classical Notes - Johannes Brahms Double Concerto". Classicalnotes.net.
- Mack, Linda (2007). "Program Notes - Andrews University Symphony Orchestra, Schubert & Brahms, January 27, 2007". Andrews University Sinfionetta.