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12 - 16 FEBRUARY 2020


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Wednesday, 13 February 2019 - 8 p.m.
February Festival 2019

A Smouldering Gypsy Fire

Alban Berg Ensemble Wien, Quatuor Van Kuijk, Ishay Shaer, Nikola Meeuwsen, Thomas Beijer, Deirdre Angenent, Peter Nilsson

The 2019 edition of the Februari Festival opens with music by Brahms and his protégé Dvořák; music that appears to have been composed out of an equal degree of passion. The music of Brahms is tremendously expressive and lively, compelling the listener to experience a whirlwind of colours and emotions, to which Dvořák adds a good dose of Bohemian panache. His feelings of exuberant joy and suffocating despair seem to be removed only a few notes from those of Brahms.



Dvořák: a selection of Slavonic Dances
Brahms: Piano Quintet, Op. 34
Brahms: 4 Gypsy Songs
Dvořák: 3 Gypsy Songs
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet


Johannes Brahms was a great fan of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, which contain many elements derived from ancient Czech dance and folk music. His enthusiasm can easily be understood; the influence of his own Hungarian Dances can clearly be discerned in those of Dvořák.

Brahms originally wrote his Piano Quintet as a string quartet with two cello parts. However, following the advice of violinist Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann, he decided to score this piece for piano and string quartet instead. The result would become one of Brahms’ most beloved chamber music works.

The surging cultural nationalism of the 19th century fuelled an enormous interest in folk music. This is clearly apparent in the songs of Brahms and Dvořák, of which today’s programme will feature a selection.

Five year before his death, Brahms decided it was time to retire from composing. That is, until he met clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, who inspired him to write four marvellous pieces of music with a leading part for the clarinet. The melancholy Clarinet Quintet is one of the greatest masterpieces in chamber music literature.

* Programme is subject to possible changes.

Concerts in the Nieuwe Kerk