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Video on demand: Concert Club: Themes and Variations

The Bachtrack Concert Club is a series of videos personally curated by our editors, who hand-picked pieces from the fantastic performances in our on-demand archive.

Our Spanish editor Katia de Miguel curates a programme based around themes and variations.
Scroll down to watch, read the programme and see related articles.

Brahms - Variations on a Theme by Haydn

Brahms - Piano Concerto no. 2

Strauss - Don Quixote

I have built this programme with Brahms’s Piano Concerto no. 2 as the central piece, played on this occasion by one of my favourite pianists: Ronald Brautigam. Brautigam has an exquisite sound and very fine technique, his playing gives us the feeling we are very close to how that music sounded when it was premiered. To put us in the mood for Brahms, this virtuosic yet emotional and powerful piece is preceded by another highly imaginative composition, Variations on a Theme by Haydn. Brahms took from his very much admired Haydn the beautiful and peculiar Chorale St Antoni, to elaborate a set of a theme and 8 variations, were we can enjoy Brahms great imagination.

At the other end, we look forward towards the late Romanticism and we will listen to the music of one of Brahms most notorious successors, Richard Strauss. Don Quixote is a symphonic poem that Strauss composed inspired by the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and each variation depicts specific episodes of Cervantes’ novel. As in his other symphonic poems, we can see Strauss’s mastery in using the orchestra richly and inventively.

- Katia de Miguel

Recorded at Concertgebouw: Main Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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