Brahms B Major Piano Trio
When we listen to the music of Johannes Brahms, we often are reminded of the image of the portly bearded Brahms at the piano, eyes closed in a soulful pose. Brahms’ works always, even in his youth, seemed to have a burnished maturity about them. As I’ve said many times on this show, Brahms’ music is often described as autumnal, and there’s a good reason for this, as its gentle melancholy is one of those things that never left Brahms even in his earlier works. But the piece we’re talking about today isn’t an early work, or a late work of Brahms. Actually, it’s both! Brahms’ B major trio is one of the rarest of rare pieces, in that it is published in two distinct versions, a version that Brahms wrote when he was just 20 years old, and a work that he heavily revised near the end of his career 35 years later, making changes that in some senses fundamentally recast the piece. At the same time, much of the original material is left in place, creating an unusual amalgam of the youthful and the mature. Brahms himself jokingly said that in the revisions of the piece, “I didn't provide it with a new wig, just combed and arranged its hair a little" Today on this Patreon sponsored episode I’ll take you through this piece in both of its versions, exploring the original trio and then its far more performed revision, trying to see why Brahms made the changes that he made, and what we can learn about his compositional process. We’ll also learn why Brahms’ B major piano trio is the answer to a famous(in the classical music world) trivia question! Join us!