From Schubert’s beloved forest landscape to the river currents that become Ophelia’s watery grave, this programme dedicated to Schubert and Brahms draws us into the depths of the romantic wilds.
Schubert’s first composition for strings and piano, the Adagio e rondo concertante (1816) was composed for the cellist Heinrich Grob, the brother of Therese Grob, then the object of Schubert’s unrequited love. The cello of Klaus Mäkelä replaces the clarinet in a transcription of the famous Shepherd on the Rock (1828), a work of melodic splendour evoking a solitary wanderer immersed in nature, that transports us into the story of a novel by Eichendorff.
Nature is also at the centre of Brahms’ Ophelia-Lieder, in the river and flowers that cling to the hair of ‘pale Ophelia’, a fascinating melodic vision of Hamlet’s fiancée, whose madness and tragic death also inspired Berlioz and Richard Strauss, among others. Brahms’ ‘Springtime’ piece, String Sextet No. 1 (1860), is a work of noble simplicity, in four movements—the first two of which will conjure memories of Louis Malle’s The Lovers for those who know the film.