Johannes  Brahms

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Nationality: German
Born: May 7, 1833, Hamburg
Died: April 3, 1897, Vienna (age 63)
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Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8

(for violin, cello and piano)
13:47
I. Allegro con brio
6:23
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
8:41
III. Adagio
6:55
IV. Finale. Allegro
Duration: 36 minutes (approximately) - hide movement times
Composed: 1854 (age 20-21)
First performance: October 13, 1855. Danzig, 1855-10-13, first version. Budapest, 1890-01-10, second version.
Published: 1854 (age 20-21), 1854, first version. 1891, second version.
Revised: 1891 (age 57-58)
Note: About the revision, from IMSLP: "The first movement is shortened by about half the original length, the second and third movements by a third. In the first and last movements, Brahms completely replaced the original second themes with new ones, in the first movement he took out a long fugue, in the Adagio he erased an Allegro middle section, and in the Finale he left out quotes of Beethoven and Schubert Lieder."
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11 recordings, 34 videos
15:02
Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich
I. Allegro con brio
6:51
Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
9:39
Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich
III. Adagio
6:49
Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich
IV. Finale. Allegro
13:41
Altenberg Piano Trio
I. Allegro con brio
6:26
Altenberg Piano Trio
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
7:48
Altenberg Piano Trio
III. Adagio
6:35
Altenberg Piano Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro
15:32
Bamberg Piano Trio
I. Allegro con brio
6:52
Bamberg Piano Trio
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
8:24
Bamberg Piano Trio
III. Adagio
6:53
Bamberg Piano Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro
10:17
Beaux Arts Trio
I. Allegro con brio
4:59
Beaux Arts Trio
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
8:11
Beaux Arts Trio
III. Adagio
6:19
Beaux Arts Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro
18:16
Beetz, Erichson, Zitterbart (1854 version)
I. Allegro con brio
6:28
Beetz, Erichson, Zitterbart (1854 version)
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
9:49
Beetz, Erichson, Zitterbart (1854 version)
IV. Finale. Allegro
32:56
Bogataj, Bogataj, Khodos
10:09
Kantorow, Muller, Rouvier
I. Allegro con brio
6:51
Kantorow, Muller, Rouvier
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
7:57
Kantorow, Muller, Rouvier
III. Adagio
6:30
Kantorow, Muller, Rouvier
IV. Finale. Allegro
14:35
Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
I. Allegro con brio
6:32
Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
8:36
Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
III. Adagio
6:51
Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
IV. Finale. Allegro
16:02
Stern, Casals, Hess
I. Allegro con brio
7:20
Stern, Casals, Hess
II. Scherzo. Allegro molto
9:25
Stern, Casals, Hess
III. Adagio
7:08
Stern, Casals, Hess
IV. Finale. Allegro
33:01
Trio di Trieste
33:01
Zanettovich, et. al.

From Kai Christiansen:

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897

Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8, 1854, revised 1890
Johannes BrahmsIn 1854, laboring under the "curse" of Schumann's glowing predictions for Germany's new rising star, a young twenty-one year old Brahms decided to publish his first chamber composition, the Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8. This was no small undertaking: Brahms was a fierce self-critic and is known to have consigned several early chamber works to the fire. Thirty-five years later, in 1890, with all but a few final works ahead, the mature, master Brahms returned to the same trio compelled to revise. With his characteristic humor, Brahms claimed, "I didn't provide it with a new wig, just combed and arranged its hair a little". His changes were in fact substantial: he shortened the work by about one-third, significantly modifying all but the scherzo. It was around this time that Brahms decided to retire, after which he was coaxed momentarily by a late affair with the clarinet into a final small set of compositions. This piano trio therefore has a special significance for Brahms the chamber composer: it began his public career and it preoccupied his attentions again at the end of an astonishing series of masterpieces. In its final form, the B major piano trio bears the hand, the mind and the heart of both the young and the elder Brahms.

Though an early work, the first of his three piano trios is unmistakably Brahms. Lasting nearly half of its total duration, the first movement is a massive sonata beginning with a beautiful theme in the cello, jarred by violent contrast and escalating into a mountain of dramatic development. A restless, dark character dominates most of the trio from the first movement's secondary themes to the brooding march of the scherzo to the wind-blown sweep of the finale rondo. While the light of B major frequently breaks through, the majority of the Trio gravitates to minor related keys, ending, despite the suggestions of its title, on a solid b minor chord. Typical of Brahms, the textures are thick, frequently juxtaposing the heavy romantic piano with the strings, violin and cello unified in a variety of parallel harmonies and symmetric counter motions.

Johannes BrahmsTo counterbalance such weight, Brahms offers the third movement adagio, a slow movement of such repose that it seems to hover, nearly motionless, an introspective intermezzo from another world. The lightest movement in multiple senses of the word, it is perhaps the most emotionally compelling, certainly, the most peculiar. The soft musical meditation focuses primarily on the piano with echoing commentary by an ethereal chorus of strings. The central section of its ternary form gathers into a tender, melancholy song first in the cello, passing to the piano and the violin across interludes that are somber, even haunting. Ephemeral, the concrete diffuses again into the abstract, the reappearance of the now familiar beginning transforming the indefinite into the transcendent.

© Kai Christiansen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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