Friends meeting to honour Bach
– 200 birthday of Clara Schumann
September 13th, 1819
Johann Sebastian Bach Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue
Clara Schumann Soirées musicales op. 6
Felix Mendelssohn Variations sérieuses
Clara Schumann Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann op. 20
Johannes Brahms Johannes Brahms Piano Sonata in C op. 1
Friends meeting to honour Bach: such might be an apt title for this programme with its wealth of interconnections. Ingeniously grouped around the thematically pivotal figure of Clara Schumann we find not only Mendelssohn, her revered colleague from her time at Leipzig, and her eternal more-than-admirer and colleague Brahms, but also her husband Robert, represented by her seven Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann op. 20, and, towering above them all, their idol J. S. Bach with his Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue. Finally, Brahms’s opus 1, an unmistakable homage to Beethoven, recalls the friends’ second idol and thus provides a further link between them.
»C major – C minor«
Joseph Haydn Sonata XVI 50
Franz Schubert Impromptus for piano op. 90, D899
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor op. 13 “Pathétique”
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 32 in C minor op. 111
The four works chosen for this programme by Konstanze Eickhorst under the title “C major – C minor” were all composed within a span of barely thirty years. The underlying idiom they all share is of course is just one of the elements covered by the general concept of “Viennese classicism”. Joseph Haydn, home again in 1795 after his second triumphant London tour, was experimenting in his final piano sonata with the latest developments in piano manufacture, without which Beethoven two years later could not have risked his almost symphonic Pathétique sonata, and Schubert, at the end of his short life, could not have achieved the colourful expressive range of his late sonatas and impromptus. But thenceforth there were no limits for the deaf “Titan”. In the outward isolation of his total deafness, piano strings might break and keys might stick, but what he heard came from regions which even the latest mechanical innovations could not penetrate.