By paqueklavier Sunday April 7th, 2019
Photo: Rona Rahbari
Dear friends of music,
On Saturday, April 6, 2019, the concert with Sheila Arnold (piano) and Guido Schiefen (cello) took place. On the program were the only two sonatas by Johannes Brahms, that he had composed solely for these two instruments. Arnold and Schiefen are no strangers in the music scene and so it was not surprising that the studio was filled with highly interested people from near and far. They awaited a wonderful and very entertaining early evening. Brahms wrote the sonatas at intervals of more than 20 years and this was also noticeable in the diversity of the compositions, which of course are both highly emotional works.
Brahms’s first sonata was written at the young age of 29 with and it is believed that his thoughts were with Clara Schumann at that time, a well-known composer and pianist, into whom he had been in love for about 10 years already. More details about the two is unfortunately difficult to find, because only a few documents have been preserved. But Clara was also the wife of Robert Schumann and mother of 7 children. So it could not have been easy for Brahms. Officially, however, the sonata was dedicated to Prof. Josef Gänsbacher, a lawyer and singer who also played the cello. This perhaps unrequited love between Brahms and Schumann means that the listener at least believed to hear the difference between joy and melancholy within the movements. Interestingly, the slow 2nd movement is lost. It is said to have been especially written with thoughts on Clara, but Brahms decided against it’s release and he even refused Clara’s request to audition for her. Since then, the sonata has been considered incomplete.
Brahms wrote the second sonata in 1886 for the famous cellist Robert Hausmann, who had long asked him to write a cello concerto. The sonata is considered a late reply to his 1st Sonata, but it is unmistakably a late work, which is evident, for example, on elements such as the pizzicato inserts in the bass for the cello which he often used during this time. Robert Hausmann was considered a giant, who could also play a correspondingly powerful tone on the cello and this is also noticeable in the composition.
Guido Schiefen, with his over 1.90 meters and his powerful and highly emotional playing, is exactly the right line-up for this. In this concert, he proved to be an outspoken master of this instrument, and the instrument’s deep, soulful bass carried itself like a soft blanket that you want to wrap yourself in on cold days, right into the back of the room. At the same time, his play, which was very differentiated in terms of dynamics, impressed with a sensitivity that was also reflected in the emotions that mirrored in the face of the interpreter. Some musicians maintain a very dramatic display of their music through gestures, but not so Schiefen. It is much more the transmission of the heart through the whole body right into the fingertips, without becoming overbearing. It’s hard not to rave about it!
With Sheila Arnold he found his perfect partner at the piano. Her gentle to powerful playing complemented his play in perfect harmony and kept the balance between the two instruments. Thus, she proved that she is not only an outstanding soloist, but also has a very keen sense of chamber music, in that she knows how to fit into the sound, while still being convincing tonally in her individuality. The grand piano of Ernst Kaps (from 1875 with Erard mechanics) was a very fitting instrument in terms of time and sound, which created a wonderful harmony with the cello, which is even about 100 years older.
Dear lovers of music and art,–
Sheila Arnold already had several breathtaking performances in the Musicstudio and thus it is a great pleasure for me that she will play a concert again! But instead of a solo program, this time together with the outstanding cellist Guido Schiefen she presents the only two sonatas by Johannes Brahms that he ever wrote for these two instruments: The Cello Sonata No. 1 and 2!
Brahms composed the first sonata between 1862 and 1865, in his young age of 29, and the second one in 1886, which was first published in 1887. He dedicated the first sonata to Josef Gänsbacher, who was a professor of singing and a lay musician on the cello. The accompanying words to the sonata are: “The piano should be a partner – often a leading, often a watchful and considerate partner – but it should under no circumstances assume a purely accompanying role.” The second sonata is dedicated to Robert Hausmann, a famous cellist who had popularised the first sonata. Together with Joseph Joachim he had the great honor of playing the world premiere of the second sonata.
Immerse yourself in this wonderful music of romance!
Saturday, 6 April 2019
Musikstudio & Galerie: Gabriele Paqué
Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38
1. Allegro non troppo
2. Allegretto quasi menuetto
Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99
1. Allegro vivace
2. Adagio affetuoso
3. Allegro passionato
4. Allegro molto
Entry: 18,- € / 10,- € red.
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