The past year….
Notes written by Richard Norris giving an insight into the music for our June 2015 concert.
Brahms and Rheinberger – tender and wistful romanticism
Our first concert of the season featured music exclusively written in the 20th century, while for the second concert we went “back to baroque”. Now we move forward to the romantic and present a series of works composed in the late 1800s; indeed, three of these works were composed within a ten-year period.
Brahms needs no introduction. But who was Josef Rheinberger? Not only was Rheinberger an almost exact contemporary of Brahms, he was in his time almost as widely known and respected as Brahms.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Germanic composers divided into two mutually hostile camps, the Brahmsians and the Wagnerites. Rheinberger, while officially neutral and occasionally showing influences of Wagner in his music, was intellectually and emotionally inclined towards Brahms in his stylistic approach. Thus, while their respective music has its own imprint, similarities between them are evident, especially the music in this concert, in which strains of a tender and wistful romanticism can be heard.