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      Two Friends: Schumann and Brahms

      Robert Schumann, c. 1850

      Robert Schumann, c. 1850

      Schumann: Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Op. 132
      Patrick Messina, clarinet; Cynthia Phelps, viola; Haochen Zhang, piano

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      Schumann’s unusual use of clarinet and viola in this piece could cause problems because the two instruments share a similar pitch. In Schumann’s hands, however, the color and textures shine through, especially when performed by virtuosic musicians such as violist Cynthia Phelps.

      St. Francis Auditorium, Santa Fe new Mexico

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      French clarinetist Patrick Messina describes his first impressions of the Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Chamber Music Festival here.

      Brahms: Quartet No. 3 in B-Flat Major, Op. 67
      Johannes String Quartet

      Johannes Brahms, c. 1873

      “All of them – useless trifles, to avoid facing the serious countenance of a symphony.”

      – Johannes Brahms in a letter to Franz Wüllner

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      The String Quartet No. 3, Opus 67 is one of the three string quartets Brahms actually kept, and still he dismissed it as a trifle. Of course, as Marc Neikrug and Kerry Frumkin agree, there’s nothing trifling about it!

      Brahms composed his Quartet in B-Flat Major in the summer of 1875, during a period of unusually relaxed daily routine that included long walks in the woods near Heidelberg.

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      Marc explains to Kerry that this piece may be sunnier than other works by Brahms because of the composer’s connection to nature.

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