Thursday, November 15, 2012

David Oistrakh & Mstislav Rostropovich: Brahms Double Concerto

David Oistrakh on violin and Mstislav Rostropovich on cello perform the Brahms Double Concerto in A minor, opus 102, Kyril Kondrashin at the podium. Johannes Brahms composed this work, his final for orchestra, in the summer of 1887; it was first performed on at the Gürzenich in Köln, Germany, on October 18, 1887. 

This is perhaps Brahms most personal work; although it has no formal dedication, it was written for the cellist Robert Hausmann and the violinist Joseph Joachim—as an overt act of reconciliation with the latter. The piece became an excuse, a gesture to invite contact and rapprochement after Joachim and Brahms stopped speaking to each other over a personal matter. As the site, Classical Notes writes:
His closest musical friend had been Joseph Joachim, the preeminent violinist of the time who had inspired many of his compositions, to whom Brahms had dedicated his only Violin Concerto, and upon whose advice Brahms constantly relied. But their bond ruptured during Joachim’s wife’s divorce proceeding after she disclosed a private letter of support Brahms had written to deflect Joachim’s accusation of an affair with Brahms’ publisher. As a result, the violinist felt betrayed and Brahms was faced with the loss of his closest musical collaborator.
Clara Schumann, a friend of Brahms, called the result "a Versöhnungeswerk," or a work of reconciliation.