THE PIANO CHAMBER MUSIC WORKS OF JOHANNES BRAHMS: A SURVEY
Ballena, David Enrique
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The Piano Chamber Music works of Johannes Brahms are undoubtedly among the most important and beloved works in all of music literature. These works encompass the entirety of Brahms’ compositional career from the youthful Piano Trio op. 8 to the autumnal Clarinet Sonatas op. 120. From the moment these pieces were composed they were incorporated into the standard repertory, undoubtedly due to their sheer beauty and Brahms’ superb instrumental writing. The great musical and technical difficulties that these pieces pose will surely challenge any musician, and for most of us, they will represent a lifetime of study and dedication. The six works performed for this dissertation project paint a picture of a composer innovative in essence that at the same time was very aware of the weight of history, and the place he played in it. While being a traditionalist, particularly when it came to form, he also adopted elements from folk music and used renewed perspectives of old traditions. The first of these recitals featured both of the Violoncello Sonatas and took place on December 7, 2009 with Marlene Ballena at the cello. The second recital took place on April 1, 2010 and included two of the Piano Trios, opp. 8 and 87, with Zsolt Eder, violin and Marlene Ballena, violoncello. The last recital was a lecture recital in which the Clarinet Sonatas were performed with Jihoon Chang playing the clarinet and took place on September 16, 2010. All of these recitals were performed at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center of the University of Maryland. The recitals are recorded on CD and are available on compact discs which can be found in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).