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Brahms and Bartók on Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Johannes Brahms, around 1865

Johannes Brahms, around 1865

Wednesday at 8:00 PM, hear Béla Bartók and Johannes Brahms on Wednesday’s broadcast from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; a pair of composers who go well together.

Scholars love to refer to Brahms as a classicist, Bartók as a modernist. Brahms did embrace classical forms at a time when composers like Wagner were exploring a freer style; yet he’s seldom predictable. In Brahms, you might hear the harmony or the note your ear is expecting, but never in the way you’ve expected it. There’s a zing to Brahms that crept into his imagination as a youth, while performing with exiled Hungarians. From them, he learned gypsy and Hungarian folk music—a wildness and a freedom that Brahms adored, but were alien to Wagner.

It makes for a nice program, placing Brahms with Béla Bartók. Like the earlier composer, Bartók was fascinated by the folk music of his homeland. He actively collected and worked to preserve the very Hungarian music that so inspired Brahms; music that was rapidly disappearing by the time Bartók was writing.

The broadcast of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival airs on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM on WFMT. Click here for web extras.

 

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