These two musical giants, Brahms and Bartók, are among my personal favourites, bound by their love of folk music, from which they both drew creative inspiration. For this CD recording we have once again coupled together a string orchestral work and an arrangement of a chamber music piece, similar to the concept used for our Brahms - Schoenberg, Mahler - Beethoven CDs.
Bartók’s Divertimento for string orchestra is an exceptionally original work and it has been on our ‘bucket list’ to record for quite a long time, but choosing the moment when something is ‘in one’s blood’, so to speak, is not an easy decision because every time we have rehearsed and performed it we have discovered new things - it is such a mellifluously rich work! With pieces like this it is never the same journey twice. I am extremely happy we have finally put it onto a CD.
Brahms’s opus 111 is a string quintet hugely loved by us all. It is not often performed by a full string orchestra and is already overpowering in its original quintet form. I fell in love with this music many years ago and spent two weeks deciphering every corner of it in a masterclass with Isaac Stern. It is a very ambitious piece to record with a large group of string players - all the intricacies of the solo voices have to be found and polished, but in my view it lends itself to becoming – dare I say it – a ‘symphony for strings’ when one approaches it with so many more players. Some of the textures seem even more glorious. However, I leave it to you ‘the listener’ to decide for yourself!