- Chloe Wolpe and Rosie Richardson
When you next hear the term ‘Brahms and Liszt’
cast your mind back to their first meeting in 1853. Brahms
was brought up in a rough part of Hamburg, and had made his
living as a teenager playing piano in taverns and brothels.
His big break came when he was spotted aged 20 playing on
tour by the great violinist Joseph Joachim. The two became
friends, and Brahms wrote his Scherzo (the opening piece in
tonight’s concert) as part of a composite sonata dedicated
to the violinist. Joachim soon introduced Brahms to the eminent
composer Franz Liszt in the Court of Weimar. Brahms, however,
notoriously uncouth, felt ill at ease in such exalted company.
To try to put the young man at ease, Liszt played Brahms’Scherzo
at sight, and went on to perform his own Sonata in B Minor.
Brahms’ reaction did little to ingratiate him with his
host. He fell asleep during the performance.
Tonight’s recital, featuring Chloe Wolpe on violin and
Rosie Richardson on piano, is an interesting mix of well and
lesser-known pieces. The second piece on the card is Four
Australian Birds, a chamber work written in 2004 by British
composer David Matthews. This is followed by Stravinsky’s
jaunty Suite Italienne (listen
to excerpt). The concert is concluded with a performance
of Bach’s rather more sombre and occasionally dramatic
Partita no 2 (listen
Shame on you if you fall asleep. AG