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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

One Degree of Separation

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Let me take a few moments to introduce a new monthy feature on the Tuesday Blog that I will call Pierre's Podcast Vault.

Once a month, I will reach into my archive of past Friday podcasts, and will dust off a past montage. I plan to provide a fresh take on the musings and commentary that I originally provided when the podcast was first published.

Additionally, for the remainder of the month, the podcast will be available on my Pod-O-Matic Podcast channel - remember that the podcast is always available on the Internet Archive at the link provided at the end of the blog post.

As is the case today, I will try and choose past montages that "fit" within the themes I am exploring hare and on my Blogspot blog. However, I would welcome suggestions from readers of the Tuesday Blog and TCers at large when it comes to past montages you would like me to feature in this monthy series.

And noiw, let's get on with it.


This month is Brahms Festival month on ITYWLTMT, and this means you can expect a Brahms feature on Once Upon the Internet in a couple of weeks, and a PTB post next week (I plan to discuss the Barhms Symphony Cycles I own). In April last year, I featured a Brahms concerto cycle, and today's montage was part of that thematic arc.

We are all familiar with the game "how many degrees of separation", how many people stand between yourself and a famous person, place or event.

Well, our artists today have one degree of separation with Johannes Brahms, and that degree is represented by Richard Robert (1861-1924), music critic, composer and one of Vienna's leading piano teachers around the turn of the century.

Robert knew Brahms personally, and became President of the Vienna Tonkünstler-Verein. He had studied at the Vienna Conservatory, but did not teach there; he gave courses at the Neues Konservatorium der Stadt Wien, founded in 1909, of which he was briefly director.

Robert's pupils include Clara Haskill,Theo Buchwald, Hans Gál, and Rudolf Serkin and George Szell,

When we think of George Szell, we think of the long-time conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra (1946-1970), one of the dominant figures in conducting, colleague of Toscanini and Stokowski, and a prolific studio artist. We often forget, however, that Szell trained as a pianist, a role for which his discography is much more modest, limited essentially to some chamber accompaniment with members of the Budapest String quartet.

Szell quickly realized that he was never going to make a career out of being a composer or pianist, and that he much preferred the artistic control he could achieve as a conductor. He made an unplanned public conducting debut when he was seventeen. Another perk of his Robert years is that he did strike a lifelong friendship with his fellow student, Rudolf Serkin, collaborating together on numerous stage and studio projects.

Serkin has performed and recorded solo, chamber and concertante works of the great German masters (Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms) and is well-at-ease with the composers of the Second Viennese School, having studied composition with Schoenberg and participated actively in Schoenberg's Society for the Private Performance of Music.

The works I retained today showcase both Szell and Serkin, together and separately, as they perform works by Brahms, including their reference reciording of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto.

I think yoiu will love this music too!

ITYWLTMT Poscat Montage #51 - Brahms, Szell & Serkin
(Originally issued on Friday, April 13, 2012)

Music of Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell, conducting

Piano Concerto no.2 in B-Flat Major, op. 83
Rudolf Serkin, piano
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell, conducting

Vier Klavierstücke, Op. 119
Rudolf Serkin, piano

Other Montages That Nay Interest You

The remaining podcasts of this April 2012 series on the Brahms concerti also includes the First piano concerto (Gould/Bernstein), the violin concerto (Bell/Dohnanyi) and the Double Concerto (Mutter, Meneses/Karajan).

January 11 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Btahms Festival, Part 2" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more January 11 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Feb-03-2013 at 14:27 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music