Brahms’ Piano Works.


  • Works for Solo Piano Volume 4.

On this CD, we get to listen to the following selections by Brahms:

Variations on a theme by Paganini in A minor, Op. 35: Book 1

Ballade, Op. 10 No. 1 ‘Edward’

Capriccio in F sharp minor, Op. 76 No. 1

Capriccio in B minor, Op. 76 No. 2

Intermezzo in A major, Op. 76 No. 6

Variations on a theme by Schumann in F sharp minor, Op. 9

Intermezzo in E minor, Op. 119 No. 2

Intermezzo in C sharp minor, Op. 117 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 1

Performed by Barry Douglas (piano)

This is Volume 4 in Barry Douglas’s amazing project to record the complete works for solo piano by Johannes Brahms. Each volume has been released to critical acclaim, the first one, in 2012, being seen by BBC Music as ‘a triumph of Brahmsian thought, with playing that gets right to the heart of the composer’.

Once again, the album is presented as a stand-alone recital, prominently featuring the C major Sonata, which was Brahms’s first published work.

The influence on Brahms of his early romantic predecessors Beethoven and Schubert is obvious here, not only in the virtuoso demands on the performer but also in the opening, which recalls both Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata, Op. 106 and Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy.

Two other works are much more than simple sets of variations. The Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann highlight the close relationship of Brahms with Schumann and his wife, Clara, to whom the work is dedicated.

In the Variations on a Theme by Niccolò Paganini, each variation explores a distinct figural pattern or keyboard technique.

Gramophone magazine wrote the following:

“Douglas comes fully alive throughout the C major Sonata. His proportioned rubatos in the first movement’s second theme and broodingly sustained Andante imbue the unwieldy textures with color and variety.”

Here is pianist Barry Douglas talking about Brahms, and playing his music:

Tags:  Barry Douglas, pianist, Brahms, sonata, Intermezzo, Capriccio