You know that old Beatles line, “I get by with a little help from my friends”? The back story to Tuesday’s music (Brahms’ Clarinet Trio, op. 114) gives new meaning to it. I’m pretty sure Mr. Brahms was a bit sad as he declared he was finished composing… but then along came Mr. Mühlfeld with his clarinet in the Meiningen Orchestra. The rest is history. As a pianist and a devotee of Brahms (As I’ve said before, I’d be howling at the moon on his doorstep if he were alive and composing today), I’m particularly grateful to Brahms’ friend Mr. Mühlfeld not only for today’s trio, but for Brahms’ op. 116, 117, 118 and 119, which are in my opinion some of the best solo piano works ever written – intimate, powerful and concise at the same time.
In Tuesday’s trio you will hear an unusual combination of woodwind (clarinet) and string (cello) instruments and piano. The only other well-known piece with this mixture of instruments is Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio, op. 11. It takes great craftsmen like Beethoven and Brahms to unite the timbres, ranges and inherent capabilities of one instrument which blows across a reed, one which rubs against a string and a third which strikes a key. You will hear that Brahms does this masterfully, allowing each instrument to be heard transparently in combination with the others. And then the music… Brahms is an old man by this time – but the great passion and tenderness which marked his entire life are the underpinnings of this work as well.
We hope you’ll enjoy this remarkable trio, and be grateful for your friends!
Speaking one last time of friends: a group of 20 and 30 yr. olds, full of their own brand of energy and passion, formed a RH adjunct board of friends this past winter. They call themselves the Fanfare Committee and are dedicated to raising awareness of Rush Hour in the under-40 age demographic and to fundraising projects that will help keep Rush Hour free and open to all throughout the summer. The Ensemble gift table at the back of the cathedral (as you exit) is one such project. Please stop by when you’re next at Rush Hour and purchase a RH t-shirt or umbrella for a friend and in so doing, endorse the Fanfare Committee’s good efforts on behalf of us all.