Some of us know how to play the piano, but none possesses more than a few fingers of his two hands !
Brahms writing to the poet Klaus Groth about Liszt
The plague continues to spread far and wide, debasing the public’s taste still further and corrupting the young.
Brahms about Liszt and about music of the future
Near contemporaries, Liszt and Brahms nonetheless developed two completely different aesthetics ; and although he was twenty years older, we can safely say that Liszt, alongside Wagner, stands for the notion of progress in music, and Brahms for the academic approach.
Revolutionary versus conservative? Arnold Schönberg warns us against this simplistic view, showing how much of modernity there is in in Brahms works.
The two geniuses were acquainted and spent time together during Brahms’ youth. Liszt used to play through the young Brahms’ work with him, before the latter’s providential meeting, instigated by his Hungarian friend, with Schumann and Clara Wieck.
Their paths then diverged, but they still had things in common: both loved Bach and Beethoven and were inspired by the virtuosity of Paganini, which they venerated and celebrated in their own music; both had a marked taste for Hungarian gipsy music straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’ both of their mutual friend the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi and Brahms’ friend Joseph Joachim, to whom he dedicated his Violin Concerto.
Our aim is to point up both the similarities and the differences between the two composers, and to connect them, thanks to the talent of such prestigious artists as pianists Geoffroy Couteau, Joseph Moog, Philippe Bianconi, Jean-Baptiste-Doulcet, Marie Vermeulin, Goran Fillipec, John Gade, Tanguy de Williencourt, Yoan Héreau, the Ensemble Aedes, the Quatuor Hermès, cellist Marc Coppey, violinist Nicolas Dautricourt and many others.
— Jean-Yves Clément, artistic director