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A Cello Concerto by Brahms?

The pianist and conductor Cord Garben has made an adaptation of the famous Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102 of Johannes Brahms. His version for violoncello and orchestra is new in the catalogues of Sikorski Publishers.

Brahms wrote the Double Concerto during the summer months of 1887, while he was staying at Lake Thun. He did in fact consider writing a violoncello concerto on the request of his friend Robert Hausmann, the cellist of the Joachim Quartet. But things turned out differently. He told Clara Schumann that he had an "amusing idea," for he wanted to write a concerto for violin and violoncello. Behind this was the secret wish to use this constellation of instruments to effect a reconciliation with his old friend Joseph Joachim, from whom he had become estranged through a quarrel years ago. Brahms worried that Hausmann could have been disappointed in the as yet unwritten cello concerto, in that he wrote to him: "... or else you would have been highly ill-humoured and taken it badly that I would have even added a solo violin to a cello concerto."

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

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

The purpose of the adaptation was to bring together the most important thematic segments of both solo parts (again) into a substantial, independent solo part. The originally rather neglected role of the woodwinds was considerably upgraded through the "allotment" of the violin part's figurative elements.

The world premiere of this version of the work has not yet taken place.