Friday, 5 February 2021

Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer for Valentine's Day

Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer for Valentine's Day

What better Valentine's Day gift than Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer? With concert halls closed, Blackheath Halls and Leeds Lieder have collaborated to bring Brahms' delightful waltzes direct to your home. The works will be live-streamed on 14 February 2020 and then available for two weeks. 

There will be an introduction from Natasha Loges (who is a professor at the Royal College of Music and who will familiar from her talks for Oxford Lieder), then pianist Joseph Middleton (artistic director of Leeds Lieder) will be joined by tenor Nicky Spence (patron of Blackheath Halls), soprano Mary Bevan and a group of young artists in association with Barbara Hannigan's Momentum project, which encourages cross-generational collaboration during the pandemic, mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, baritone William Thomas and pianist Dylan Perez.

Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer were written in the late-1860s and premiered in 1870. Brahms took the texts from Georg Friedrich Daumer's Polydora, a collection of folk-songs and love poems. There is speculation that the works were at least partly inspired by Brahms' love for Clara Schumann (some 14 years his senior). Robert Schumann had died in 1856 and the young Brahms had been of great helpd and support to Clara during the crisis. As a result, he had become close to Clara but the relationship remained platonic. 

Another inspiration was Franz Schubert, notably his Ländler and Brahms' waltzes are influenced by Schubert's and Brahms' envisioned a similar sort of domestic setting. The music consists of four solo vocal parts and piano duet (two pianists at one piano, which was very much a domestic form), with the vocal parts sufficiently doubled in the music for Brahms to mark the voices ad libitum. The works were immediately successful and their publication (aimed at the very domestic market that Brahms' was concerned to recreate) brought the composer some significant income!

Tickets are £10 per household, further information from Blackheath Halls website, or Leeds Lieder website

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