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Johannes Brahms wrote his second sextet in the countryside around Baden-Baden in the season 1864-65. He was still a young man at 31 years old but is no longer a beginner: he has already created the first of his piano concertos, several sonatas and numerous lieder. And in fact, this 2nd sextet shows the extent of his mastery.
The first movement, round and peaceful, opens with the warm arabesque tranquillity of the first viola, on top of which are layered the idle melody of the first violin and the vibrating echoes of the other instruments. Many musical commentators, sometimes not knowing how to describe the feeling of luminous sweetness of this music, have often liked it to the silhouette of the Lichtenthal hills – and immediately the image hits the nail on the head. It is also said that the composer, recently separated from the soprano Agathe von Siebold, had discreetly inscribed in the heart of this intimate landscape a bittersweet goodbye, the superior voices naming the beloved (a-g-a-h-e, la, sol, la, si, mi), while the inferior voices watched her move away, repeating tirelessly a-d-e(la, re, mi) – “Agathe ade”, Agathe, adieu. The central movements, a shivering scherzo and an intense adagio, obscure the limpid serenity of the first, before a spirited finale, marked poco allegro, sees the joy return with all the instruments responding cheerfully to the playful tempo. Julian Rachlin invites us, as a family, to enjoy this masterpiece of music. Do you also love Brahms?
F-A-E Sonata - Scherzo / Johannes Brahms
Sonata for Violin & Piano in A minor - 1. Allegro moderato, 2. Andante 3. Menuetto: Allegro, 4. Allegro / Franz Schubert
5 Pieces for 2 Violins & Piano - I Prelude, II Gavotte, III Elegy, IV Waltz, V Polka / Dmitri Shostakovich
Introduction and Rondo capriccioso for Violin & Piano. Op. 28 / Camille Saint-Saens
String Sextet N°2. Op. 36 / Johannes Brahms