Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis Ralph Vaughan Williams
An intriguing exploration of the relationship between Brahms and Clara Schumann. Classic FM Drive Featured Album, 7 October 2013.
In an intriguing musical exploration, American conductor John Axelrod highlights the music that surrounded the relationship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. For this first release in the series, Brahms' Second and Fourth Symphonies are coupled with lieder by Clara sung by Nicole Cabell and Indra Thomas while Axelrod accompanies on the piano. The symphonies feature Axelrod conducting the Grammy Award-winning Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.
Axelrod says that each of Brahms’ four symphonies has a completely different, though connected, character. He has also come to the conclusion that the songs of Clara Schumann likewise fall into four similar moods, and that they strongly reflect her own personality. That being the case, according to Axelrod it is possible to see the four Brahms symphonies as portraits of Clara and the same four different aspects of her character.
Whatever one's thoughts about the concept and the connections, this album offers compelling performances of music that captures all the passion of Brahms and Clara's relationship.