Pre-concert Talk: 7pm / Concert: 8pm
Harriet Burns (soprano)
Ida Ränzlöv (mezzo-soprano)
James Way (tenor)
Michael Mofidian (bass)
Christopher Glynn (piano)
Before the concert, Graham Topping discusses Brahms, the Lovesong Waltzes and the challenges of translation.
How do we think of Brahms? The beard, the belly, the cigar. The gruff grizzly bear, repelling all boarders. All this, however belies, indeed disguises a soft sweet and suffering soul. And it was in song that he expressed his most intimate thoughts. His love for Clara Schumann, his mentor’s wife, which drove him to the brink of insanity, (even, he admitted , suicide) lasted well beyond his youth. Much to Clara’s dismay this ‘ impossible’ love sublimated into an obsession with Clara’s daughter Julie. And there were others. Agathe von Siebold was an early romance, Elisabeth von Herzogenberg a late one. Interspersed with intimate letters from Brahms and others, this concert presents a selection of songs for solo and concerted voices, all sung in the world premiere of Jeremy Sams’ new English translations. As well as many songs invoking his endless love (“Von Ewiger Liebe”) for, and his self-imposed distance (Brahms’ many serenades) from Clara, we also have complete performances of the romantic ‘Liebeslieder Waltzes’ which invoke Julie, and the racy ‘Gypsy Songs’ first sent to Elisabeth. We range from his earliest songs, all Clara-inspired, to his very last “Serious Song’ where he enshrines St Paul’s wonderful words ,’Surely love is the greatest thing of all’.