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chamber music


Schumann, Brahms

Heavenly trinities: cellist Mischa Maisky, his pianist daughter Lily Maisky and his violinist son Sascha Maisky, present three chamber works by musical history’s most famous relationship triangle, Clara and Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms.


CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Three Romances for Violin and Piano Op. 22

Piano Trio No. 1 in B major Op. 8


Three Romances for Cello and Piano Op. 94

Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor Op. 101

Clara Schumann’s three violin Romances were written in 1853, the year she was introduced to her lifelong friend Johannes Brahms, and the lull before her personal storm of 1854, when her husband and Brahms’s champion, Robert Schumann, attempted suicide. No. 1 is a dreamily lyrical Andante molto. A hint of mystery enters for the Allegretto, before No. 3 presents a wistful, long-breathed violin melody over rippling piano figures. In 1886, after Brahms sought Clara’s opinion on his third and final piano trio, she wrote in her diary of its scherzo, ‘No other work of Johannes has so entirely transported me; so tender is the flow of the second movement which is wonderfully poetic. I am happier tonight than I have been for a long time.’ This scherzo is preceded by a momentum-filled Allegro energico, and followed by a serene Andante grazioso, then a finale whose C minor darkness ultimately transforms to C major light. Robert’s three Romances of 1849 (originally for oboe) all feel pensive and nostalgic, with much minor tonality, and tense bursts of energy.