Composer search

Search by surname

Detailed search

Repertoire search

Catalogue search

A Cello Concerto by Brahms?

The pianist and conductor Cord Garben has adapted the famous Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102 by Johannes Brahms for violoncello and orchestra.

Brahms wrote the Double Concerto during the summer months of 1887 during a sojourn by Thuner Lake. He did in fact consider writing a cello concerto in response to a request from his friend Robert Hausmann, the cellist in the Joachim Quartet. But things turned out differently. He had a "funny idea," as he told Clara Schumann, for he wanted to write a concerto for violin and violoncello. Behind this was the secret desire to use the new instrumental constellation in order to effect a reconciliation with his old friend Joseph Joachim, with whom he had fallen out years ago. Brahms worried that Hausmann could be disappointed by the unwritten cello concerto; he wrote the following to Hausmann: "or you would have ungraciously taken offence at the fact that I have added a violin part to a violoncello concerto."

On 20 September Brahms travelled to Baden-Baden with the finished score and orchestral parts, where Joseph Joachim and Robert Hausmann played through the composition for the first time at Clara Schumann's home.

The premiere took place at the beginning of the next season, on 18 October 1887, with the Grzenich Orchestra in Cologne.

The goal of the adaptation was to bring together (again) the most important thematic segments of the two solo parts into a substantial, autonomous solo part. The role of the woodwinds, rather neglected in the original version, is clearly upgraded through the "allotment" of the violin part's figurative elements.