On This Day… October 18

Today we look at Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. Written for cellist Robert Hausmann and violinist Joseph Joachim, it was the last work that Brahms wrote for orchestra. Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, Op. 102, premiered on this day in 1887.

Brahms wrote this work in 1887, and used it to mend the relationship between him and violinist Joachim. They fell apart during Joachim’s divorce, when Brahms has sided with Joachim’s ex-wife. Clara Schumann wrote, during the preparations for the concerto’s first performances in Baden-Baden that “Joachim and Brahms have spoken to each other after years of silence.”

The concerto take the standard concerto form – fast-slow-fast – and uses many coded techniques, including the use of the melodic motif A-E-F, which is a rearrangement of F-A-E, Joachim’s personal motto frei aber einsam (“Free but lonely”).

I enjoy finding real gems for you to listen two, and I’m sure I’ve found a fantastic one for you today. Two of the greatest proponents of their instruments, David Oistrakh on violin and Mstislav Rostropoich on Cello, with the Moscow Philharmonic.

Did you enjoy that? What do you think of this concerto? How does it rate with Brahms’ other string concertos, or other orchestral works? Let me know in the comments, or write a blog about it linking back here and I’ll add a link below.

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