Listening Log 2020-2021

September 2020

Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major – Mvt. 3

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany and lived during the Romantic period. His family was poor but as a teenager he played the piano at local inns to help earn extra money. He studied the music of J. S. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven and played music with his friend Eduard Reményi, a violinist from Hungary. Eduard exposed him to folk music from his country which inspired many of Brahms’ later compositions. He became friends with important musicians and composers Robert and Clara Schumann and lived with them for awhile. Robert Schumann wrote an article praising Brahms’ compositions and he became well known. There were two groups at that time, those that wanted the rich and robust traditions of the Classical period to continue and those that wanted to experiment more. Brahms loved the music of the masters he had studied so he was in the Classical Period group. Others like Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner were in the experimentation group. Brahms composed music in nearly every genre: choral music and songs, chamber music, symphonies, piano duets, piano solos, piano trios, a requiem, concerti and more.

This piece, Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, 3 – Mvt 3, composed by Johannes Brahms is considered chamber music. It’s not meant for a big performance hall like GBPAC. Notice how skillfully and softly the musicians play at times. It would be difficult to appreciate these subtleties from a 100 yards away. Chamber music is meant to be played in a smaller room for a smaller audience, perhaps in someone’s home. A piano trio is a piece for three instruments, at least one of them being a piano.

The musicians in this video are considered super-stars. People pay lots of money for tickets to their concerts. Emanuel Ax plays brilliantly. His passages almost sparkle. Yo-Yo Ma is the most famous cellist alive and Leonidas Kavakos is also very popular. I love to watch them playing together. You can see them communicating and looking up at each other, smiling and feeling the emotions in their music. They have excellent ensemble skills. I hope you enjoy their performance!