The New York Times has a weekly feature that presents a nicely curated set of eight classical music videos (usually YouTube) freely available online. I don’t know how old the feature is, but I’ve noticed sets the last three weeks. Last night, I was exploring this week’s and became enamored of a Brahms Double Concerto for violin and cello. I was immediately interested for two reasons. One: the video features one of my favorite diva violinists – Anne-Sophie Mutter. She’s joined for the concerto by the cellist Maximilian Hornung and the Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra. And Two: I had not heard of or listened to this piece before, and I love both Brahms and double concertos.
Double concertos require Herculean coordination on the part of the soloists, and of the conductor and the other musicians in the symphony as well. On some levels, duets always create an intimacy between the soloists that is captivating, but full concertos tend to be immense works, and then…double!
The New York Times sets list a time stamp for their selections that the critic/commentator who submitted the work finds particularly noteworthy. For this piece, Joshua Barone chose a moment in the first movement, at 3:28. He writes, “In the piece’s opening minutes, the violin (here the great Anne-Sophie Mutter) and cello (Maximilian Hornung) share a continuous run of 16th notes passed back and forth seamlessly, followed by another run: an ascent in which they play the same notes, but in different octaves.”
The moment is a treat indeed, but so is the whole thing:
Thanks for reading.