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Ehnes & Brahms’s Violin Concerto

September 20, 2023 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Our season-opening festival FOCUS : Clara, Robert, Johannes​ celebrates the abiding friendship between Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms who encouraged and inspired each other through lives of prolific creativity, troubling uncertainty, and perhaps even unrequited love.

Johannes Brahms composed his Violin Concerto in 1878 to showcase the talent of his great friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. Brahms was known for writing concertos that featured the orchestra and soloist equally, unlike many concertos in which the orchestra serves primarily as a backdrop to the soloist. Canadian violinist and NACO Creative Partner James Ehnes performs this work with tenderness and power.

Apart from being a wildly successful concert pianist over a 61-year career, Clara Wieck Schumann was an accomplished composer, particularly in the Lied (art song) repertoire. Lieder are songs that set poetry to music, with the spotlight shared equally between vocalist and pianist. Clara composed and gave three of her exquisite Lieder to Robert on their first Christmas together as newlyweds.

Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 was the last symphony written by the great composer (though not the last one published). Throughout his career, Schumann wrote all kinds of music—chamber music, Lieder, and choral works—but only turned to writing symphonic music at the encouragement of his wife Clara. He was inspired to write this symphony, known as the “Rhenish,” by visits to Cologne and through the Rhineland with his family, and he completed it in just five weeks.


September 20, 2023
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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National Arts Centre
1 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5W1 Canada
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