Sign in to follow this  
Rue

Brahm's Violin Concerto

Recommended Posts

Heard this yesterday. Sat in the front row looking up up up (note to self: consider other seating next time). 

First time I have listened to it. Very nice. Will have to spend time listening to a recording...preferably with a score...

Any suggestions?

Neck cramps aside - I was able to get a unique perspective as seen from underneath...great view of all the action.

To relieve the neck pressure from looking up I straightened my head and took time to check out everyone's shoes and socks...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So who was the soloist in the Brahms, and how did you manage not to hear it before?  -  this being one of the most performed concertos.

A much lauded recent recording is by Janine Jansen, however there are tons of good recordings. You can't really go wrong with this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anne Sophie Mutter or Zimbalist  renditions I like.  An interesting Brahm's would be Ricci's version + 16 cadenzas.  The cadenza is during the first movement for a few minutes with the following players each having their own version of the cadenza put into the recording. The violinists are in order:

Busoni, Joachim, Singer, Heerman, Auer, Ysaye, Ondricek ,Kneisel,

Marteau, Kreisler, Tovey, Kubelik, Busch, Heifitz, Milstein and Ricci with Ricci finishing out the rest of the Brahm's ,  over a  hour [1:17] worth of music.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Herman West said:

So who was the soloist in the Brahms, and how did you manage not to hear it before?  -  this being one of the most performed concertos.

A much lauded recent recording is by Janine Jansen, however there are tons of good recordings. You can't really go wrong with this one.

Jonathan Crow...and I have no idea! :ph34r:

Thanks for the suggestions on recordings! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, thirteenthsteph said:

Honestly, how is that possible? :o My favourite performance is Kavakos', but that's usually the case. 

Also, have you heard the Double Concerto by Brahms? If not, try the Szeryng / Starker one. 

LOL...just didn't happen.  I listen to music as I come across it...I have never made a point to 'seek' out the top 10 or anything along those lines.

1 hour ago, uncle duke said:

Anne Sophie Mutter or Zimbalist  renditions I like.  An interesting Brahm's would be Ricci's version + 16 cadenzas.  The cadenza is during the first movement for a few minutes with the following players each having their own version of the cadenza put into the recording. The violinists are in order:

Busoni, Joachim, Singer, Heerman, Auer, Ysaye, Ondricek ,Kneisel,

Marteau, Kreisler, Tovey, Kubelik, Busch, Heifitz, Milstein and Ricci with Ricci finishing out the rest of the Brahm's ,  over a  hour [1:17] worth of music.      

Oh!  Lots of suggestions!  Thank you! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an aside:  We don't watch the Oscars, but I listen to the news, so I kinda know what's up.

  • I knew La La Land was in the running.  My husband had never heard of it.
  • Moonlight won Best Picture - and I have never heard of it.

I suppose we should make an effort to at least see them.^_^

Point is...there is so much 'out there' it's impossible to aware of everything, or to have experienced everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rue, agree there is so much 'out there'! ^_^ I guess I am going to show my age (or at least what I liked growing up), but here are my humble recommendations:

Philharmonia Orch / Milstein / Fistoulari

Cleveland Orch / Oistrakh / Szell

London Symphony Orch / Szeryng / Monteux (won a Grand Prix du Disque, but not sure if still available)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Rue said:

 First time I have listened to it. Very nice. Will have to spend time listening to a recording...preferably with a score...                    Any suggestions?

 

Yes, it's very nice. But that's about it. It's also pretentious, not quite expertly written for violin, bit boring here and there, often repetitious and overly dramatic. This is a concert which worked well for dramatic violin players. It hasn't got the polish of the Bruch's C/to because Brahms was not as competent a craftsman as Bruch was. Might have deeper ideas though.

The reference recording is Fritz Kreisler's. Same for Beethoven by the way. Another excellent take is Neveau's. It's very hard to guess how Brahms thought his concert interpreted. He wrote it for Sarasate. It can not get any more confusing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Rue said:

Just an aside:  We don't watch the Oscars, but I listen to the news, so I kinda know what's up.

  • I knew La La Land was in the running.  My husband had never heard of it.
  • Moonlight won Best Picture - and I have never heard of it.

I suppose we should make an effort to at least see them.^_^

Point is...there is so much 'out there' it's impossible to aware of everything, or to have experienced everything.

We don't watch TV, and we see movies we feel we WANT to see.  Most movies are "not to my taste."

But I do read.  ;)  

A great many violinist's biographies mention the Brahms concerto. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, carl stross said:

He wrote it for Sarasate.

Carl, didn't Brahms dedicate his Vln Concerto it to Joseph Joachim? My understanding is Sarasate refused to play it?

You mention Bruch. His 2nd concerto (d minor) is one I can't get my head head wrapped around, but I find his Serenade and 3rd concerto enjoyable and wonder why they are not played more often. Perhaps I should go back and listen to the 2nd though, given I haven't listened to it for a few years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Karl and Carl! :)

It was dedicated to Joachim...the conductor mentioned it...and I just looked it up to be sure he was right. ^_^

In this instance I appreciate having access to free music.. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, carl stross said:

It's very hard to guess how Brahms thought his concert interpreted. He wrote it for Sarasate. It can not get any more confusing. 

 

4 hours ago, Karl Peterson said:

Carl, didn't Brahms dedicate his Vln Concerto it to Joseph Joachim? My understanding is Sarasate refused to play it?

You mention Bruch. His 2nd concerto (d minor) is one I can't get my head head wrapped around, but I find his Serenade and 3rd concerto enjoyable and wonder why they are not played more often. Perhaps I should go back and listen to the 2nd though, given I haven't listened to it for a few years.

 

4 hours ago, clearsky said:

Yes, it was Joachim. Finally Carl is wrong about something. I never thought I'd see the day! ;)

Well, Carl is bound to be wrong sometimes but this is not one of those. It was written for Sarasate who thought it's simply bad music and said something on the line of " I'm not going to stand for minutes violin in hand while the oboe is playing the only melody". Once Sarasate dumped it, Brahms gave it to Joachim who played some role in re-writing parts of it. 

100 and some years down the line it's very difficult for us to understand how the pecking order looked like. Sarasate was a real rock star. Brahms was a composer of some merit. :)  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's fun to watch David Garrett's performance of this on youtube.  It's not like a great, beautiful sound or anything, but it looks spontaneous as if he was figuring out as he goes along, or sight reading.  Which is something you don't see...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Karl Peterson said:

Carl, didn't Brahms dedicate his Vln Concerto it to Joseph Joachim? My understanding is Sarasate refused to play it?

You mention Bruch. His 2nd concerto (d minor) is one I can't get my head head wrapped around, but I find his Serenade and 3rd concerto enjoyable and wonder why they are not played more often. Perhaps I should go back and listen to the 2nd though, given I haven't listened to it for a few years.

I think you are right about Bruch - he should be played more and I guess he is going to be. Lots of violin concerts are not played anymore or by far not as often as they used to be. I am speculating that started to happen once playing only one concerto on an evening and with orchestra, became the rule. As a teenager I witnessed one great violin player playing 12 concerts in 4 consecutive nights. from Beethoven to Paganini. Before WWI this was pretty common. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Rue said:

Just an aside:  We don't watch the Oscars, but I listen to the news, so I kinda know what's up.

  • I knew La La Land was in the running.  My husband had never heard of it.
  • Moonlight won Best Picture - and I have never heard of it.

I suppose we should make an effort to at least see them.^_^

Point is...there is so much 'out there' it's impossible to aware of everything, or to have experienced everything.

While it's true you can't be aware of everything, that's no excuse for not having a passing familiarity with a cornerstone of the literature, at least if you're interested enough to actually build violins and post about them online.  Keep in mind that while contemporary violinists may have declined the opportunity to play it, that doesn't necessarily reflect poor construction on the part of Brahms.  Also, good to keep in mind that even in the 19th. century, just as today, a lot of music can't always be  appreciated in its time.
To wit, the late Beethoven quartets were thought implausible; 200 years later, no string player worth his professional salt would think of ever going thru life unacquainted with them.

As to the Brahms concerto specifically, I'd have to admit I prefer Dvorak.  In my youth I found Brahms to be a favorite, but then with advancing maturity and experience, I have to day the latter has much the same colorful Eastern European color, but in a much more sunny disposition.  For instance, since almost everything written is available free on YouTube, I'd suggest you compare the Brahms symphonies (there are only 4, you can hear any two of 'em on your lunch hour) with the popular Dvorak ones.  Dvorak is often more fun for string players, and he never wrote anything less than interesting for cellos!

PS  "Moonlight" must be the only Oscar Best Picture in modern times that only made $22mil.  Just like the Nobel Prize, the results often seem dependent on political correctness of the day.  But then that's only my opinion, considered as it may be, and yours may very well vary.

PPS And yes, definitely listen to the Brahms concerto with a score in front of you if at all possible.  You'll be amazed to actually see what the player is asked to do on the instrument!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, carl stross said:

Yes, it's very nice. But that's about it. It's also pretentious, not quite expertly written for violin, bit boring here and there, often repetitious and overly dramatic. This is a concert which worked well for dramatic violin players. It hasn't got the polish of the Bruch's C/to because Brahms was not as competent a craftsman as Bruch was. Might have deeper ideas though.

The reference recording is Fritz Kreisler's. Same for Beethoven by the way. Another excellent take is Neveau's. It's very hard to guess how Brahms thought his concert interpreted. He wrote it for Sarasate. It can not get any more confusing. 

It only looks confusing because all the above is pretty much wrong and inaccurate. The Brahms concerto was conceived, composed and revised with Joseph Joachim in mind. Brahms and Joachim, close friends and associates, worked extensively on this concerto and it goes without saying that the concerto was dedicated to Joachim, who premiered it in tandem with the Beethoven concerto which Joachim had brought back in the repertoire (before, people used to think it was one of LvB's more "boring" works  -  a word that is used in the above, too).

Brahms had given Sarasate a look at the work in progress when they met in a resort, but Sarasate was a completely different kind of musician than Joachim or Brahms, from another tradition, the flashy French - Spanish type. Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole was dedicated to Sarasate, who was not interested in playing the Brahms because the oboe has a nice melody in the middle movement.

To a degree it is a matter of opinion whether Bruch is a greater craftsman than Brahms, but very few people would rate Brahms as a lesser craftsman who was more into 'drama' than structural depth and finesse. In his day Brahms was revered as the ultimate craftsman who was intimately familiar with the entirety of music history who destroyed countless symphony sketches and string quartets in statu nascendi before publishing his mature works, which have stood the test of time without exception.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, LeMaster said:

As to the Brahms concerto specifically, I'd have to admit I prefer Dvorak.  In my youth I found Brahms to be a favorite, but then with advancing maturity and experience, I have to day the latter has much the same colorful Eastern European color, but in a much more sunny disposition.  For instance, since almost everything written is available free on YouTube, I'd suggest you compare the Brahms symphonies (there are only 4, you can hear any two of 'em on your lunch hour) with the popular Dvorak ones.  Dvorak is often more fun for string players, and he never wrote anything less than interesting for cellos!

Oh, yes ! :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, carl stross said:

Yes, it's very nice. But that's about it. It's also pretentious, not quite expertly written for violin, bit boring here and there, often repetitious and overly dramatic. This is a concert which worked well for dramatic violin players. It hasn't got the polish of the Bruch's C/to because Brahms was not as competent a craftsman as Bruch was. Might have deeper ideas though.

The reference recording is Fritz Kreisler's. Same for Beethoven by the way. Another excellent take is Neveau's. It's very hard to guess how Brahms thought his concert interpreted. He wrote it for Sarasate. It can not get any more confusing. 

 

3 hours ago, Herman West said:

1It only looks confusing because all the above is pretty much wrong and inaccurate.

2. The Brahms concerto was conceived, composed and revised with Joseph Joachim in mind. Brahms and Joachim, close friends and associates, worked extensively on this concerto and it goes without saying that the concerto was dedicated to Joachim, who premiered it in tandem with the Beethoven concerto which Joachim had brought back in the repertoire (before, people used to think it was one of LvB's more "boring" works  -  a word that is used in the above, too).

3. Brahms had given Sarasate a look at the work in progress when they met in a resort, but Sarasate was a completely different kind of musician than Joachim or Brahms, from another tradition, the flashy French - Spanish type. Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole was dedicated to Sarasate, who was not interested in playing the Brahms because the oboe has a nice melody in the middle movement.

4. To a degree it is a matter of opinion whether Bruch is a greater craftsman than Brahms, but very few people would rate Brahms as a lesser craftsman who was more into 'drama' than structural depth and finesse. In his day Brahms was revered as the ultimate craftsman who was intimately familiar with the entirety of music history who destroyed countless symphony sketches and string quartets in statu nascendi before publishing his mature works, which have stood the test of time without exception.

1. Which bit is confusing and which bit is inaccurate ? :)  

2/3. Sure, quite possible. It was however written for Sarasate who dumped it. I will not speculate on MN how this came about but I find it incredibly interesting, reason being that Brahms had expressed glowing admiration for a number of quite different violin players he heard playing his concerto. To my ear the c/to doesn't work if the player has a distant approach. To the extent I can trust what was related about Brahms' opinions on the interpretation of his work it seems he might not've minded a distant approach to the score.

I don't remember well but I think ( I apologize if I am wrong ) that Joachim premiered the c/to together with B's. That tells me something. Might tell you something else, of course. One of the things I am fond of doing is to look at any work in the context of the period and avoid being influenced by our nowadays "perspective". It's my, maybe misguided attempt, to be be objective. Take then Brahms position in the mid '70s, consider carefully who and what was composing within the same period give or take around 15 years and not forgetting Opera and suddenly Brahms is not OUR Brahms anymore. He's pretty much nowhere. By the time he was a respected Mr. Prof with a long beard and no socks, music moved to Paris and people were listening to Verdi.

And yes, Beethoven's C/to touches on boring through being overly repetitious. Beethoven himself did not have a great opinion of it - he butchered it miserably as you well know, by transcribing it for piano. 

4. Sure, that's a matter of opinion. One might as well consider how easy is to get Bruch, Mendelssohn, even Beethoven to sound right by just playing passably what is written compared to the constant strain of pulling Brahms' Symphony. :)  Comes down to the question if music should stand strictly on it's score. I think so but I don't mind people way smarter than myself arguing this into oblivion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, carl stross said:

 

1. Which bit is confusing and which bit is inaccurate ? :)  

2/3. Sure, quite possible. It was however written for Sarasate who dumped it. 

This part is monumentally inaccurate. There is zero documentation for your claim. 

There are mountains of documentation for the Brahms concerto being written for (and in collaboration with) Joseph Joachim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, LeMaster said:

While it's true you can't be aware of everything, that's no excuse for not having a passing familiarity with a cornerstone of the literature, at least if you're interested enough to actually build violins and post about them online.  Keep in mind that while contemporary violinists may have declined the opportunity to play it, that doesn't necessarily reflect poor construction on the part of Brahms.  Also, good to keep in mind that even in the 19th. century, just as today, a lot of music can't always be  appreciated in its time.
...

PPS And yes, definitely listen to the Brahms concerto with a score in front of you if at all possible.  You'll be amazed to actually see what the player is asked to do on the instrument!

I will admit to having unsophisticated musical tastes. :ph34r:   My favourite flavour (instrumental or voice) is solo, or with a very light accompaniment.  Symphonic works are growing on me.  Playing them has certainly helped foster interest.  However, if a work gets lost in complexity, it tends to lose me as well.  However, as I learn more, I appreciate more...and so I journey on.

Listening to music while following the score is one of my favourite things to do...:wub:

Love the historical debate as well...:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, carl stross said:

 

 

I don't remember well but I think ( I apologize if I am wrong ) that Joachim premiered the c/to together with B's. That tells me something. Might tell you something else, of course. One of the things I am fond of doing is to look at any work in the context of the period and avoid being influenced by our nowadays "perspective". It's my, maybe misguided attempt, to be be objective. Take then Brahms position in the mid '70s, consider carefully who and what was composing within the same period give or take around 15 years and not forgetting Opera and suddenly Brahms is not OUR Brahms anymore. He's pretty much nowhere. By the time he was a respected Mr. Prof with a long beard and no socks, music moved to Paris and people were listening to Verdi.

 

You "remember" Joachim premiered the Brahms concerto together with the Beethoven because I just told you.

Your historical picture that Brahms was "pretty much nowhere" compared to his contemporaries in Paris and around the opera doesn't make the slightest sense. It was not a zero sum issue. Wagner's fame and notoriety did not take anything away from Brahms's fame, which was considerable. He was making foreign tours more than he wished, he was getting commisions from all over the place, he was quite wealthy (although it didn't show); towards the end of his life he was immensily powerful in the German-style music businessboth because of the excellence of his works and the international success it had garnered him, as and because of the many alliances with other great composers and conductors  -  starting of course with Robert and Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Herman West said:

This part is monumentally inaccurate. There is zero documentation for your claim. 

There are mountains of documentation for the Brahms concerto being written for (and in collaboration with) Joseph Joachim.

Well, who knows, you could be right. I really don't mind. Pretty irrelevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.