Hello all, Eliana here. Thanks for visiting our new website and blog. We'll be adding more content as we go along. I'm getting excited about our upcoming season and practicing my part for our August 7th concert. We're playing a Haydn quartet and a Brahms quartet and I have a confession to make: Brahms is my desert island composer. He wrote two sonatas for viola which are two of my favorite viola pieces ever. I have played all four of his Symphonies, which are some of my favorite pieces in the symphonic repertoire. Last year, I had the pleasure of performing the Brahms Songs for Alto and Viola on a New Year's concert at my church, with a French Hornist friend playing the voice part. I feel like I could listen to and play Brahms forever and have been plotting and scheming to play a Brahms quartet all year.
If I could describe the Brahms quartet No. 1 in c minor in one word, it would be: stormy. Or maybe angsty. Brahms was a fairly obsessive personality, constantly scratching out and rewriting entire pieces. Here's photo of his grave, which I visited while living in Vienna.
Mulling things over even in death, it seems. The piece we are working on seems to also have this obsessive, ruminating character. A motive will be stated, then fade away, then restated again in different keys, building tension but never really reaching a satisfying conclusion until the very end. There is a breathless quality to the first and last movements. The inner movements, on the other hand, are pure Brahms warmth and lush harmonies. I especially like the lilting, walk-like rhythm of the second movement, and the beautiful, song-like melody he gives to the first violin.
If I had one composer to play for the rest of my life, I think it would be Brahms. This is, of course, supposing that the desert island in question contains a string quartet, symphony orchestra, and vocal department. Can I sign up for that island cruise?